Covid-19 has brought many challenges for schools, necessitating many rapid adjustments. Teachers have had to adapt to new techniques, modifying how teaching and learning is undertaken.
Leaders have needed, more than ever before, to know and understand exactly how staff are feeling and coping with these challenges.
We may think that teachers are doing alright, despite the stresses of the pandemic, because they seem to be coping. But proactively seeking feedback can tell a different story.
'The stress is palpable'
Even as schools are opening again, increasing numbers of teachers are isolating themselves in classrooms, focussed on planning and not feeling able to engage in professional dialogue with peers. If you listen, the stress is palpable.
Real-time feedback, gained through regularly surveying staff and seeking their feedback and input, needs to become the norm in light of these challenging circumstances.
Such a proactive approach provides opportunities to acknowledge, applaud and celebrate the many great and positive achievements that are occurring, while also sending a powerful message to staff that their concerns are being heard, acted upon and are impacting positively on action planning.
Honest, anonymous feedback
Staff Pulse provides a platform to do just that. For staff, it means the ability to offer honest feedback anonymously. For leaders, it is a tool for strategic planning, staff engagement and wellbeing, all in one. Leadership teams can easily identify emerging problem areas and take responsible actions to deal with them.
The platform was developed in consultation with an educational psychologist, resulting in software that offers non-intrusive weekly or fortnightly online surveys. Staff Pulse provides a continuous data flow that can be tracked over time in order to measure the impact of decisions and initiatives on wellbeing, and results can be benchmarked against those of other schools.
Administrators can customise some questions in each survey to gain feedback on initiatives so adjustments can be made if the desired outcomes are not being achieved, enabling honest staff feedback to support effective planning.
A powerful approach
Such genuine engagement with staff is powerful to witness. Taking the pulse of a school is a low-maintenance yet powerful way to create a climate of empathy and a culture of respect that can only strengthen the sense of community and value in which each member is held. Providing timely responses to staff concerns indicates that they are being taken seriously and creates a sense of shared sense of ownership for all involved.
And it isn’t just about uncovering issues: Staff Pulse can also spark conversations that celebrate and highlight what is good and what noteworthy achievements have taken place, despite the challenges faced.
Ensuring a school’s wellbeing strategy is well embedded will, above all, lead to happy teachers and this, in turn, leads to happy students. The care for and retention of a school’s most valuable assets - its staff - means better outcomes all round.
Find out how your staff are feeling
You can explore how your staff are feeling and how you can help them with Staff Pulse. The questions have been developed by an expert psychologist and all answers are anonymous, allowing respondents to share how they are feeling honestly, and allowing you to track wellbeing trends on a regular basis and address any issues raised. More than 1,000,000 surveys have already been completed, helping schools to work better and be happier.
This is an edited version of an article by Tim Waley that appeared in the October 2021 edition of Independence Journal.