In 2022, for the first time since the National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP) began testing students in the 1970s, scores in math dropped. Reading scores fell by the largest margin seen in 30 years (NAEP, 2022). The pandemic had devastating consequences on student development—both academically and socio-emotionally. Addressing these crises will take solutions at multiple levels—all of which require adults in schools to be reaching ever closer to their full professional potential. But there’s another problem: the adults on the front lines—the teachers, paraprofessionals, and other school-related personnel who are tasked with solving this problem—are not experiencing well-being.
There is a critical link between student and teacher relationships, well-being, and developmental outcomes (Harding et al., 2019). Education leaders must tend to the well-being of staff so that they can tend to the learning and well-being of their students. It is far too easy to succumb to the narrative that problematically high educator attrition is somehow unavoidable—that burnout is inevitable in this profession.