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Teaching has always been hard, but it's never been like this !!!!

by Carol Wolff

In what way?

In the news we hear...

  • Staff shortages
  • Demands on parents / school system
  • Disputes between government and unions

What about us?
We (the teachers) are forgotten

In what way?

Once we understand it, and verbalize it, we can deal with it.

Incredibly challenging.
We are barely hanging on.
We are utterly overwhelmed, overworked and exhausted.

In what way?

Students in the same grade have even more widely varied academic achievement levels than usual.

We are constantly having to figure out how to teach material in appropriate sequences while accommodating student absences.

It’s just hard when students are gone

You don’t know how much new content to teach when they’re away, and how to get them caught up afterwards

Some challenges are...

  • Basic learning skills - how "to be" a student
  • emotional dysregulation
  • disruptions
  • defiance - behaviour we have not experienced

... These are more common than they used to be.
We are forced to spend more time restoring order before we can teach.


  • We are giving up prep time/free time to substitute for sick colleagues

  • Scrambling to find ways for kids to catch up

  • Being creative to engage students

Complete the sentence

I am a teacher and I believe...

Our Strengths

collaboration adaptability

We never give up

Feeling drained?

Each day, try to relax after you get home from work.

Don’t overwork yourself
Teaching MORE does NOT mean your students will learn MORE.
Don’t burden yourself grading their tests/work
Do not spend your weekend planning lessons

Learn to say no
One quick way to burnout is by overstretching yourself - learn to say no without feeling guilty or bad.


Volatility - Stability
Uncertainty - Certainty
Complexity - Simplicity
Ambiguity - Clarity


Volatility - How will you respond?
Uncertainty - How to prepare for it?
Complexity - How do you manage complexity?
Ambiguity - How to deal with the feeling of vagueness and chaos?

V or Volatility is about the nature and dynamics of change, and rapidly changing contexts and conditions. Say for instance when a teacher needs to change student disciplining strategies because disciplinary measures taken earlier cannot be used now.

U or Uncertainty is about the lack of predictability, the prospects for surprise, due often to some missing data, say sudden and unforeseen behavioural change in students that a teacher has to cope with in class, as a result of having taken some disciplinary measures

C or Complexity is the interconnectedness of cause-and-effect forces, or multiple factors difficult to categorize or control, say for example, the degree of severity deemed appropriate when correcting misbehaviour in students

A or Ambiguity is vague data, subject to multiple interpretation and the mixed meanings of conditions. A teacher may be confronted with parents’ intervention related to student disciplining, which she reads as ‘interference’ and there are ambiguities.

VUCA translates into...

  • be transparent
  • be flexible
  • establish guiding priorities
  • experiment to learn


VUCA education means embracing CHANGE, and welcoming it.

It means learners directing their own course through education, and discovering joy in the sense of agency that it brings.

Sense of agency refers to the feeling of control
over actions and their consequences

VUCA education...

It means falling in love with the journey and not the destination.
It means focusing on the skills that will help us meet an uncertain future with our best foot forward.

Learning from setbacks, persevering through adversity, knowing who we are and anchoring that deeply to weather any storms that come.


Teachers are the engine that drives social and emotional learning practices in classrooms; their OWN social-emotional competencies and well being does not only protect them from burnout and allows them to teach better (Gustems-Carnicer, Calderón, and Calderón-Garrido 2019), it also strongly affects their students (Jennings and Greenberg 2009; Hulburt, Colaianne, and Roeser 2020).


90+ Activities

Take a look at these and begin each lesson with SEL 🙏🏻🙏🏻

It doesn't have to be a long thing

Instructional practice

Infusing SEL in what you are doing

Video lessons of the week

26 Simle ways to integrate SEL

Fundamentals of SEL

SEL can help all young people and adults thrive personally and academically, develop and maintain positive relationships, become lifelong learners, and contribute to a more caring, just world.

Taking care of yourself is the best gift you can give your students.

Make a list of the things you like to do that feed your heart, your body, your mind, and your soul.

Get out your calendar and make time for yourself EVERY day.

Give up all guilt about taking time for yourself, or for taking time to be with people who boost your energy and your joy.

Keep a gratitude journal.

Ask for help when you need it. After all, you aren’t asking for anything you would not be happy to give. Allow others the blessing of giving to you.

Laugh and learn from your mistakes.


Remember to have fun, take care of yourself first- self-care is NOT selfish
Have an awesome week

How would success feel to you?

How do you define success?

When you achieve success, what will your ideal day involve?

What does happiness look like?

What are some things you currently do that contribute to your productivity, happiness and success?

What are the top three to five things you'd like to prioritize in your daily life?

Do you have any new short-term or long term-goals regarding your success and happiness?

What is Success” by Ralph Waldo Emerson

To laugh often and much;

to win the respect of the intelligent people
and the affection of children;

to earn the appreciation of honest critics
and endure the betrayal of false friends;

to appreciate beauty;
to find the best in others;

to leave the world a bit better whether by
a healthy child, a garden patch,
or a redeemed social condition;

to know that one life has breathed
easier because you lived here.

This is to have succeeded.

Many people define success as “bigger, faster, better” as in, bigger house, faster car or better school.

But is this really success?

Has Ralph Waldo Emerson defined what real success means?

The changes that an individual can bring in society and win personal success.

This is your life! Your goals! Your success!

Discuss how you would answer the question “Did I give my best effort to today’s activities?”
Questions for discussion:

How can your family help you reach your full potential?
How can you help them reach theirs?