Happy Teachers for Romania is the training center and resources for well-being in the school, of the Transylvania College Foundation. We focus on the adults involved in the education system, such as teachers, school counselors, school leaders, etc. constantly keeping in mind that these steps have a strong positive impact on the well-being of students.
The Happy Teachers for Romania project was launched in February 2019. Forty school principals and inspectors from Mures County were invited to a presentation aimed at emphasizing the importance and urgency of prioritizing the well-being of teachers as a decisive factor in the involvement and academic results of students. We highlighted the need to introduce socio-emotional and behavioral development programs for teachers and proposed a long-term training program to support and guide teachers in discovering solutions for managing daily challenges.
The pandemic has come, we have adapted. Now, more than ever, our work had to be available for teachers. We have developed an innovative five-week online training program for teachers, which is based on research in the field of neuroscience on the topic of social-emotional development, resilience, and well-being. These practices correlate kindness and self-care with emotional and physical health, which will be reflected in students’ academic behavior and outcomes.
During the 5 weeks of online training, we focus on the importance of emotional, physical, and behavioral health. This program includes five live sessions, daily self-study, guided on a digital platform, and meetings with think tanks. At the end of the program, graduates receive a package containing the book The Teacher Within, a set of posters with exercises for the class, and an agenda for planning.
In partnership with Dr. Gilda Scarfe, researcher and founder of Positive Ed. In the UK, we have started to measure the authentic impact of the program. Using a validated tool for measuring well-being, we evaluated the program in 6 areas: autonomy, adaptability to the environment and circumstances, positive relationships, purpose, personal development, and self-acceptance.
Adaptability to environment and circumstances
Goal in life
Over 1500 registrations
560 graduates, with a direct impact on at least 14,000 students.
We aim, by the end of 2021, to bring the program to 15 counties, to a total of 1000 teachers who have a direct impact on 25,000 students.
As we all know, the TWENTY-FIRST century has brought new challenges both in everyday life and in education. The level of stress has increased significantly, and change is becoming a necessity. According to the latest international studies, teachers, along with doctors and nurses, belong to the professional category with the highest level of stress at work. The pandemic has added extra pressure on an already hard-pressed system.
We were thrilled that the teachers wanted to enroll in large numbers in our national program, but we wanted to reach to as many of them as possible. We launched a series of live conversations Summer Conversations, Autumn Conversations and Wellbeing Conversations, where we invited decision-makers, teachers, education experts, psychologists, coaches, and students to discuss how each of us can contribute to the well-being of the school community. The acute need for well-being in the Romanian educational system has become transparent through the popularity of live events that have reached a number of over 160 thousand views. This initiative was also a catalyst for the creation of a strong and engaged community that today has over seven thousand followers.
The Happy Teachers for Romania podcast. We wanted to share our message that positions well-being as the main objective of the school community, with as many people as possible. Therefore, we have released a new and bold podcast. We chatted with educational experts, influencers, parents, and other numerous guests. We wanted to go deeper into the current needs of the education system and look for real support solutions that any member of society can achieve because we strongly believe that Education is the responsibility of each of us.
National Study The Well-being of the Teacher. All our initiatives were an unexpected success, which made us understand that the need was greater than we initially estimated, so we decided to evaluate the well-being of Romanian teachers in order to be able to create projects targeted at their real needs. Few studies exist in Romania to analyze the well-being of teachers and its effects on teaching practices and the academic results of students. In partnership with Dr Gilda Scarfe, founder of Positive Ed, UK we have assessed and investigated the current level of teacher well-being at the national level with the help of the Teacher Flourishing Evaluation tool belonging to the Prosperity Centre at Harvard University.
The results of the study were promising with most of the participants who felt excited about their work. These results were valid regardless of the socio-demographic context. On average 83% reported being satisfied with their lives in general. We also found that although most participants were satisfied with their work, 36% felt alone. Among the respondents, 68.7% experienced positive emotions such as joy or happiness, but only two-thirds have experienced such emotions in the last 2 weeks.
We also decided to collect qualitative data through consultations with a group of selected teachers, because we felt that the data collected was disconnected from the harsh reality faced by teachers. We conducted interviews with several teachers among the initial respondents to the study and found that over 80% report that their work has no positive effect on their mental health or well-being. This is partly due to the lack of autonomy and support offered by the school management but also to the lack of understanding of the importance of the well-being of teachers. This highlights the stressed the increased need to place the mental health and well-being of the entire school community in the center of attention of each educational institution in order to encourage teachers to talk openly about their worries and concerns.
As a result of this study, we suggest a model for the implementation of educational programs aimed at the well-being of teachers, which may include accreditation standards, support areas, and course models.
Projects under construction:
National Conference Education for Well-being; well-being in schools begins in Cluj
Mentoring program for teachers
The training program of trainers
Social-emotional development camp for teachers
And many more…
Other national initiatives of the Centre:
One-hour webinars with practical tips for emotional support for teachers and students.
February – Teacher’s Month of Well-being in Romanian Education
Emotional Health Week