Educators at all levels of the education system must be equipped with the skills to mind their mental health. That’s according to AONTAS, the National Adult Learning Organisation, which jointly hosted a ‘Self Care for Educators’ event in Dublin today (21.11.18) in partnership with EPALE Ireland and Léargas.
The event heard how educators in the adult and community education sector are increasingly experiencing stress and burnout. Commenting today, Niamh Reilly, CEO of AONTAS, said: “We are hearing from adult educators nationwide about growing levels of pressure, anxiety, and mental illness within the profession.
“Adult learning educators are dedicated to their work but they are often working with learners who may have experienced challenges in their lives such as homelessness, substance misuse, educational disadvantage, long-term unemployment or poverty.
“This can, obviously, take a toll on educators’ mental health. There has been a growing focus in recent years on students’ mental health and the importance of cultivating resilience and mindfulness in learners of all ages. However, it is equally important that educators – across all sectors and levels of the education system – develop mindfulness and resilience skills, so they can avoid burnout and are supported to protect their own mental wellbeing.”
EPALE, a community of adult learning professionals, funded by the European Union are leading the way providing professional development for educators in the area of self-care. Commenting at the event Laura Austen-Gray, EPALE Coordinator for Ireland, said: “With this event, we are aiming to explore the tools and practical exercises teachers can use to build their resilience, incorporate mindfulness into their work, and avoid burnout. We provide the professional development that educators want and need. We know that it can be difficult for educators to prioritise self-care and we are trying to address this issue.”
“This event comes at the end of European self-care week; a pan-European campaign to engage professionals, decision makers, and citizens to embrace self-care. We hope the importance of this common approach across the Union aids practitioners in understanding the importance of self-care initiatives in their personal and professional lives”
Author, psychologist and TV personality Dr. Eddie Murphy delivered the keynote address at today’s event, focusing on how educators can enhance their resilience and self-care capacities.
In his address, he emphasised the key aspects of self-care for educators saying: “There are a number of evidenced-based tools that educators can use to enhance personal wellbeing, resilience and compassion, thereby reducing burnout. The power of a good teacher can create a lifetime legacy of health, hope and happiness for the student.”
Other speakers at the event included: