BY ROB WISE, DIRECTOR OF ENROLLMENT MANAGEMENT
How workplace culture drives student engagement.
One of The Joy School’s biggest contributors to guaranteeing our students turn into happy, dedicated learners is by ensuring that we are setting them up for success. However, we don’t just apply this principle to our student's education, we apply it to the careers of our faculty and staff as well. By supporting our teachers and ensuring that we are setting them up for success, we are emulating one of TJS’ biggest strengths – we take care of people.
A recent report about employee engagement and stress published by Gallup cited that since the beginning of the pandemic, employee engagement has decreased while stress has increased. Among businesses that have seen large impacts, schools continue to be on the frontline of industries that have pushed to operate as normally as possible for the benefit of their students. The result is teacher burnout, increased stress, and loss of engagement. But because of The Joy School’s intrinsically positive culture, dedication to joyful learning, and staying rooted in our core beliefs, we believe that we’ve been able to weather this particular storm better than many other schools.
According to Gallup, the main indicator of employee engagement is whether employees feel that “someone at work cares about them”. Throughout the pandemic, workplaces that intentionally practiced this fundamental principle saw an increase in employee engagement rather than a decrease. How? These companies focused on the people, not just results. This was achieved by giving clear expectations, asking for feedback from employees, and then answering with the support that those individuals need.
Teachers have the tremendous responsibility of ensuring student engagement through unprecedented times while also managing their own stress. TJS supports teachers by requesting their feedback in authentic and people-centered discussions, having administration cover classes so that teachers can take care of their families and personal needs, and maintaining an open-door policy for teachers to access administration. The result isn’t that teachers feel less stressed, but rather they know they are supported by their leadership. In turn, their students can stay open to the learning experiences in their classroom, ensuring they are staying engaged in their own learning. In short, “We Take Care of People”.
The low teacher attrition and longevity directly illustrates that our teachers feel supported at TJS. By creating an environment where teachers can talk directly with the Dean of Faculty, our Head of School, and many other administrators, teachers have a true voice in how they are supported. This attribute of The Joy School has a direct impact on our students – they continue to be joyous at school, learn new things, and feel empowered to meet their academic and social potential. When kids are happy, they are less stressed. When they are less stressed, they are more open to learning. We haven’t sacrificed our parties, dancing, and dress up days during the pandemic, continuing to show #howschoolshouldbe!
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