At the end of the 2017-18 school year, 26% of first year Hamilton County Department of Education (HCDE) teachers left for good. Teacher stress is at an all time high. According to Gallup, 46% of teachers report high daily stress during the school year. This is now tied with nurses for the highest rate among all occupational groups. The consequences are being felt. Teacher stress is correlated with lower student achievement, reduced continuity for students and increased costs. Additionally, higher teacher engagement in their jobs predicts higher student achievement outcomes. Reducing teacher stress benefits students.
Department of Education projects increases in both student enrollment and teacher hiring over the next 5 years, yet enrollments in teacher education programs were down 35 percent and the number of graduates dropped by 23 percent between 2009 and 2014. Reducing teacher stress benefits teachers and public education.
PAUSE (Practices in Awareness and Understanding for Sustaining Educators) is a pilot demonstration program run by the Center for Mindful Living to teach mindfulness in HCDE classrooms. PAUSE is partnering with three elementary schools in Hamilton County - Hardy, Dupont and Middle Valley, representing a wide variety of communities - inner city, multicultural, and suburban to demonstrate the effectiveness of the model across demographic groups. This program will benefit teachers and students by: reducing teacher burnout, increasing teacher retention, increasing prosocial behavior among students, increasing teaching time during the academic day, and creating a more positive classroom culture. Our $3,000 is well spent.