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Start Well - A research project supporting resilience and wellbeing in beginning school teachers


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Presetnation by Dr Greer Bennett, Hunter Institute of Mental Health, for the International Mental Health Conference 2016.

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Start Well - A research project supporting resilience and wellbeing in beginning school teachers

  1. 1. Start Well A Research Project Supporting Resilience and Wellbeing in Beginning School Teachers Dr Greer Bennett, Ms Ellen Newman, Ms Elizabeth Kemp, A/Prof Frances Kay-Lambkin, Dr Gavin Hazel
  2. 2. Hunter Institute of Mental Health • The Hunter Institute of Mental Health is a leading national organisation dedicated to reducing mental illness and suicide and improving wellbeing for all Australians. • For more than 20 years we have been delivering successful, evidence-based mental health and suicide prevention programs from our base in Newcastle, NSW.
  3. 3. Project background: Early career teachers are at risk • The first years of employment are a critical time for early career (beginning) teachers; • Peak performance in teachers occurs at around 5 years of service (Clotfelter, Ladd and Vidgor, 2006); • In Australia, almost 1 in 2 early career teachers will leave the profession within 5 years of beginning their teaching careers (Gallant and Riley, 2014); and • There are many reasons for early career teachers leaving the profession; however overwhelmingly the strongest factors include those of a mental health origin: - Stress; - Burnout; - Job dissatisfaction; - Mismatch of expectations; - Feeling overwhelmed; and - Lack of social inclusion at school….
  4. 4. How can we help beginning teachers? The culture of schools as a professional learning environment that promotes social connectedness, collaboration, formal and informal induction processes and ongoing learning opportunities, enables teaching staff to support each other and enhances early career teachers’ resilience (Johnson et al., 2012; Gibbs & Miller, 2014). Peer support
  5. 5. Project aims 1. To identify some of underlying issues that may contribute to high rates of attrition in beginning school teachers in NSW; and 2. To identify and recommend strategies to promote retention in beginning teachers, with a particular focus on peer relationships.
  6. 6. Methodology • Review of current evidence (ongoing); • Online survey of beginning teachers’ views; and • Targeted telephone interviews with key stakeholders in education sector.
  7. 7. Online survey 453 teachers responded to our survey in just 3 weeks. 417 respondents were eligible for inclusion in the study.
  8. 8. Who answered our survey?
  9. 9. AGE LOCATION Who answered our survey?
  10. 10. Approximately how many years have you been teaching? Key results:
  11. 11. Social support Key results: Social support is important
  12. 12. Workload Key results: Perception of work/life balance and workload
  13. 13. Key results:
  14. 14. • Online survey augmented with interviews with key thought leaders from the education sector: – Peak training organisations; – Union representatives; and – Organisations providing dedicated support to beginning teachers. Methodology Part 2:
  15. 15. "Leadership at a school level could actually reflect the value that early career teachers have, not just to other early career teachers, but to experienced teachers as well." "One of the problems of early career teachers is problems are perceived to be the product of them being relatively inexperienced. We have to realise that they are dealing with the same sorts of problems that very experienced teachers are dealing with and they need at least the same support." “We need to get in early with our pre-service teachers while they are still training to talk to them about some of the things that could impact mental health and wellbeing for them, and their resilience in dealing with a whole range of things that sit outside of the mandated curriculum.” Key thoughts: Leaders interviewed
  16. 16. Take home messages • Beginning teachers in NSW have high rates of planned teacher attrition; • There are key factors that influence a teachers’ plans to stay in teaching, such as work/life balance and level of social support; and • Generally, key thought leaders in the field agree with information provided by the teachers themselves.
  17. 17. Thank you Contact: