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Celebrating World Teachers' Day

woman sitting at desk smiling
Professor Georgina Barton’s program uses art to help teachers build self-care skills.

As Queensland celebrates World Teachers’ Day on Friday (October 27), University of Southern Queensland researchers are leading the way in understanding teacher wellbeing.

Professor of Literacies and Pedagogy Georgina Barton is using art to help teachers build self-care skills.

Her program, The School of Self-Care, aims to address the concerning reality of teacher wellbeing amid an ongoing crisis in the industry forcing teachers out of the classroom.

“There is strong evidence to suggest that teachers’ wellbeing is at an all-time low,” she said.

“Since Covid, more than 50 per cent of teachers reported they have experienced moderate to extreme symptoms of depression.”

The School of Self-Care aims to provide access to all teachers to support materials and resources to improve their wellbeing through individualised programs involving arts-based reflection activities, podcasts, workshops and published works.

“Often when we feel stressed words are not enough to explain how we feel,” Professor Barton said.

“Using the arts as a catalyst can be an effective way to explore our feelings.”

Professor Barton said quality research would be wrapped around the uptake of the program so teachers could see the direct benefit of their wellbeing.

She hoped an increased focus on teacher health and wellbeing would help address the high rate of attrition in early career teaching.

Research shows up to 15 per cent of teachers are walking out of the classroom permanently within six years of starting their career.

“If we do not address the issues that affect teacher wellbeing urgently, we are at risk of an even greater teacher shortage,” Professor Barton said.

“If we don’t have happy teachers, we are also at risk of unhappy students.”