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Four Groups of People You Need to Prevent Burnout

harness social support Aug 08, 2022

The second pillar in the THRIV burnout prevention and recovery model is Harness Social Support. Social support can come from a lot of different people and places, but there are four that are particularly important for educators.

Each of these different groups of folks help us to process our experiences in different ways and they provide different kinds of support. 

If you want to make this blog experience interactive, grab a piece of paper and make a grid with four quadrants. In each space, brainstorm the people who fit the bill for that quadrant.

Quadrant 1: Teacher friends. 

Nobody understands what you're experiencing as much as a fellow educator. Who are the educator friends who you can call on when you need help? Who is happy to assist when you have to take a sick day? Who do you go to for instructional ideas when you're drawing a blank?

Quadrant 2: Non-Teacher Friends

I know it sounds strange, but you need some friends that don't know anything about education. Here's why: A friend that doesn't understand the system, the climate, the laws, or the frustrations can only see YOU. They aren't going to go on about how broken the system is or how much they disagree with the expectations. They're going to focus on the impact the situation has on you personally and leave the "fixing the system" conversation for another time. They don't have personal stake in the conversation other than that YOU are upset and in need of support. Who are those friends for you?

Quadrant 3: Family

Everyone's family is different and every member of every family is different. Who are the family members who are the best positioned to support you in different situations? Need childcare? That's my dad. Need to bounce an idea? That's my sister. Need someone to praise me for something I accomplished? That's my spouse. Who are the people that meet the different needs you have in your family?

Quadrant 4: The Greater Community

Where do you get general support from a large group of people? If you're in the Teacher Care Network Support Community and you participate regularly, that might be your greater community. Maybe it's a place of worship that you attend. Maybe it's a club you belong to. Maybe it's the moms on your child's soccer team. Wherever your greater community is, make sure you are engaging regularly! 

Tips for Integration:

  • Keep your social support list handy as part of your Emotional Safety Intervention Plan
  • Take a picture of it or enter the info into a Note on your phone.
  • Review your list regularly to remind you to engage with all four groups.

If you need assistance creating a more robust Emotional Safety Intervention Plan, this month's well-shop is going to be a deep dive into a list of practices we all need as navigate a stressful work environment. You can find information about that here. ASL interpreters must be requested by the Friday before the well-shop. 

Hop into the Teacher Care Network Support Community and share your four quadrants! We'd love to cheer you on or offer ideas and support.

-Dr. Jen Johnson

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