Professional burnout is one of the greatest challenges for teachers

On the eve of National Education Day, UNICEF reminds of the need to prevent professional burnout among teachers and take care of their mental well-being

13 October 2023
UN0688854
UN0688854/Korta

Warsaw, 13 October 2023 – Chronic fatigue, stress, workload and lack of support are some of the causes of burnout. It applies to many professional groups, including teachers. Therefore, UNICEF and its partners implement a broad range of interventions aimed at supporting teachers in Poland. 

Burnout is a state of physical, mental and emotional exhaustion, which is usually characterized by chronic fatigue. Among the groups of the so-called high risk of burnout include, among others: health care workers, psychologists, social workers or teachers. Therefore, on the occasion of National Education Day, UNICEF draws attention to the challenges posed by stress and burnout in educational work. 

Teachers in Poland have been facing unprecedented challenges for the last three years. First, it was distance learning during the COVID-19 pandemic, and now the need to adapt working and teaching methods to multicultural classes. Teachers work with refugee and migrant children every day, create inclusive classes, teach Polish and try to use the best methods of intercultural communication. To do this effectively, they need not only to strengthen their skills but also and especially to take care of their own well-being. 

UNICEF support to teachers in Poland 

The UNICEF Refugee Response Office in Poland, together with the Ministry of Education and Science, partners and civil society organisations encourages all teachers in Poland to take advantage of projects aimed at supporting and helping them cope with everyday challenges and burnout and taking care of their own physical and mental well-being. 

One of the activities that UNICEF offers for teachers is a certified online course entitled: "How to deal with stress and burnout" available free of charge on the Learning Passport platform: https://www.szkolenia.learningpassport.pl/. The course provides practical strategies and tools for managing high demands, pressure and stress. Teachers can learn to recognize the symptoms of burnout and develop coping mechanisms. The project is implemented in Poland by UNICEF, MoES and the SOK Foundation. 

With teachers in mind, UNICEF, together with the SOK Foundation, has also prepared a webinar on how to strengthen mental resilience, cope with stress and build strong foundations for effective teaching work. The webinar is hosted by Natalia de Barbaro, a respected psychologist and author of the best-selling books "A Tender Guide" and "Yarn". The webinar is also available to watch on the Learning Passport platform. 

UNICEF also supports the development of teachers' skills in the field of inclusive education, intercultural communication and working with children who have experienced trauma. As part of the "Accessible School for All" project implemented by the Ministry of Education and Science, UNICEF and the Educational Research Institute, teachers receive access to tools useful in conducting educational and specialist classes, building a sense of community among students, with particular emphasis on children from Ukraine. Project participants also have access to free psychiatric and psychotherapeutic consultations, which help them support children even better. More information on the project here: https://www.ibe.edu.pl/index.php/pl/szkola-dostepna-dla-wszystkich-opis-projektu 

Another proposal from UNICEF is the "Good Emotions Zone" support program implemented in cooperation with the Fine Foundation. This is a program for teachers and educators who work with children in situations of crisis and increased tension. The program includes nine webinars available at: https://www.youtube.com/@fine_ngo/videos.  

During this day we celebrate the valuable role that teachers play in educating children and adolescents worldwide. UNICEF restates the importance of putting teachers’ physical and mental well-being first. By doing that, every child and young person, irrespective of their circumstances, will be able to receive a quality education and a chance for a brighter future. 

Media contacts

Monika Kacprzak
Communication Specialist
UNICEF Refugee Response Office in Poland
Tel: (+48) 604 226 866

About UNICEF

UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.

For more information about UNICEF and its work for children, visit https://www.unicef.org/eca/.

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