Committee for Children Blog

Introducing Winter Well-Being for Educators

A Psychologist's Guide to Winter Well-Being with a Cailin Currie

Welcome to A Psychologist’s Guide to Winter Well-Being! Each winter, the researchers here at Committee for Children put together a series of tips and practices that can help adults support their social and emotional well-being. This year, our focus is on supporting educators.

Many educators have experienced chronic stress, crushing workloads, and burnout over the past few years. Teaching is one of the most stressful professions, and teachers are more likely than other working adults to experience poor well-being.1 Pandemic-related school closures, staffing shortages, remote teaching, and other recent events have made teaching even more demanding.

We developed the 2022 Winter Well-Being campaign to recognize this stress and offer research-based ways that educators can meet their own foundational needs. The tips and practices we’ll share are not meant to be a cure-all for burnout. There are systemic factors and larger crises outside of educators’ immediate control, like the nationwide staffing shortages, that are negatively impacting educators’ mental health and well-being. But social-emotional learning research tells us that to manage difficult times and cope with chronic stress, you must first take care of yourself. Educators can take meaningful steps to improve their own well-being, despite external challenges, and that’s what we’ll be focusing on this winter.

In November, December, and January, we’ll post a video dedicated to an aspect of educator well-being. Our topics will include meeting foundational needs to improve emotional regulation and resilience, how to unplug in a healthy way, and how to practice positive reframing to encourage helpful self-talk. Each video will provide activities for educators to practice personally, with students or colleagues, and at home with family, since the impacts of chronic stress don’t start and stop at the classroom door. Along with each video, we’ll publish a blog post that digs deeper into the science behind our suggestions.

I’ll be your host for this year’s videos and the author of this year’s blogs, along with my colleague Dr. Tia Kim. We’re both developmental psychologists and members of the research team at Committee for Children. As part of my job, I focus on social-emotional learning (SEL) and well-being, and on how educators’ well-being affects that of their students and their colleagues.

Research shows that teachers who have social-emotional skills and resilience are more likely to engage with students, be patient, listen well, and keep calm during challenging student encounters.2 But teachers suffering from chronic stress interact with students less and their classrooms have poorer emotional climate, organization, and instructional quality.3 Students whose teachers are constantly stressed often have more disruptive behaviors and concentration problems and lower academic achievement.4 This marked impact of educator well-being on student well-being demonstrates the interconnectedness of school communities. Resilient educators are equipped with the skills to help create more positive classrooms, schools, and communities.

If you’d like to learn more about supporting educator social-emotional well-being, check out Second Step® SEL for Adults, a professional learning program designed for K–12 teachers, leaders, and staff. And be sure to tune in for our first video, available on our campaign website on November 15.


1. Walker, T. (2022, June 16). Make educator well-being a priority now. National Education Association.

2. Beltman, S., Mansfield, C., & Price, A. (2011). Thriving not just surviving: A review of research on teacher resilience. Educational Research Review, 6(3), 185–207.

Jennings, P. A., & Greenberg, M. T. (2009). The prosocial classroom: Teacher social and emotional competence in relation to student and classroom outcomes. Review of Educational Research, 79(1), 491–525.

Kunter, M., Klusmann, U., Baumert, J., Richter, D., Voss, T., & Hachfeld, A. (2013). Professional competence of teachers: Effects on instructional quality and student development. Journal of Educational Psychology, 105(3), 805–820.

3. Irvin, M. J. (2012). Role of student engagement in the resilience of African American adolescents from low-income rural communities. Psychology in the Schools, 49(2), 176–193.

Jennings, P. A. (2015). Early childhood teachers’ well-being, mindfulness, and self-compassion in relation to classroom quality and attitudes towards challenging students. Mindfulness, 6(4), 732–743.

4. Herman, K. C., Hickmon-Rosa, J., & M. Reinke, W. M. (2018). Empirically derived profiles of teacher stress, burnout, self-efficacy, and coping and associated student outcomes. Journal of Positive Behavior Interventions, 20(2), 90–100.

Marzano, R. J., & Marzano, J. S. (2003). The key to classroom management. Educational Leadership, 61(1), 6–13.