“My hope is these extra couple of days will allow everyone to take a little extra time for themselves and their families. Family is, after all, much of what Thanksgiving is all about.”
–Dr. Kelvin R. Adams, Superintendent of Schools, St. Louis Public Schools
Like St. Louis, school districts across the country opted to add an additional partial or entire week off during the holiday season/winter break to allow the students and adults to find time for and take care of themselves.
While the decision was controversial for working parents who struggled to find last-minute childcare, it poses a larger question: Are school districts prepared to not just care for students who are struggling with returning to the classroom, but can they also support the needs of their adults during what has been the most trying two years in education?
The facts are clear: Teachers are leaving the industry in droves. According to a study by The Brookings Institution, “in March 2021, 42 percent of teachers declared they have considered leaving or retiring from their current position during the last year. Of these, slightly more than half say it was because of COVID-19.”
But it’s not solely due to the pandemic, the same study indicates. “Teachers nearing the retirement age were as likely as younger teachers to report having considered leaving or retiring for reasons other than COVID-19.”
The issue is not just germane to education. As a business leader, it’s becoming more and more challenging to meet the needs of our team members. Keeping team members connected to the organization – and their colleagues – in a remote world is a challenge. Which makes retention a challenge. All the while, hiring new team members is now tougher and more costly than ever.
So how do we, collectively, create an environment in our schools and businesses that cultivates happy habits?