Talent Talks

EdFuel’s blog on all things talent.


Psychological Safety: One ingredient in the recipe for teacher and student wellbeing
Kristina Campa-Gruca
October 2021

Teacher dissatisfaction has skyrocketed over the past year and a half, with one-in-four teachers indicating a desire to leave the classroom within the next year.1 Extraordinarily high levels of stress have led to < a dramatic increase in burnout and overall decrease in mental health and wellbeing.2  We know from our work with partners across the country how the pandemic is taking a toll on the mental health and wellbeing of teachers. The numerous factors that contributed to employee dissatisfaction prior to the pandemic have been magnified over the last year and a half. They include:3 

  • Very high workload (often unrealistic) 
  • Poor work/life balance  
  • Frequent organizational change  
  • Lack of resources  
  • Unreasonable demands from managers  
  • Not feeling valued or appreciated  

Because there remains uncertainty about what the future holds for schools as the pandemic wanes, it is imperative that leaders address these issues head-on to prevent an exodus of their teachers. In some organizations, leaders have been able to provide additional compensation, mental health benefits, flexible schedules, opportunities for remote work, and other interventions meant to increase wellbeing. And, we also know that many organizations do not have the same resources or ability to offer these benefits.  [Read more]


EdFuel’s Anti-Racist Pledge: An Update
September 2021

EdFuel’s Anti-Racist Pledge outlined a series of both internal and external commitments. Since the inception of this pledge, EdFuel has made strides to live out these commitments and ensure that we are actively working to keep anti-racist values top of mind in all that we do. On top of overhauling how we operate, we are committed to exploring ways that we can examine all of the work that we do through the lens of DEI (diversity, equity, and inclusion) and anti-racism. Today we will share some of the actions that have been taken internally related to the commitments outlined in our pledge. [Read more]


The Gift of Gratitude
Mary Mason Boaz
September 2021

If you’ve spoken to an educator in your life recently, you may have heard the same sentiment that I have: “This year is harder than last year”. Among other things, they’ve noted the lack of stability, the ever-changing list of quarantines, and the overwhelming risk assessments they have to make nonstop every day. We can’t wait until teacher appreciation week to show the educators in our lives that we care, that we see them, and that we value them. How are we, as a community, supporting them through this incredibly challenging time? How are we showing them how grateful we are? How are we connecting to their humanity? One small way we can do this is through individual and collective gratitude. 

HOW GRATITUDE KEEPS ME GROUNDED
Gratitude has been a tool that therapists have suggested to me since I was 10, when I first started seeking treatment for my anxiety and is something that I have loosely kept up with over the years. About 9 months ago, upon recommendation by my therapist, I recommitted to incorporating a daily practice of gratitude after many discussions about the severe levels of stress I was navigating in this pandemic-era with a toddler, a newborn, a full time job, and a parent in the high risk category for severe COVID complications. The constant daily risk analysis was overwhelming and paralyzing. So I’ve been trying it out. At home around the dinner table, we try to each share one thing we are grateful for. My one year old usually just throws food on the floor and babbles, but my partner, my 4 year old, and I each often take the opportunity to share. Does it happen every night? Certainly not. But over the past 9 months I have been reminded that these types of practices, while small, have always shown me the power of gratitude in lifting my mood, bringing joy to others, and alleviating stress. 

Brene Brown often shares an excellent quote from a Jesuit priest that says, “It’s not joy that makes us grateful, it’s gratitude that makes us joyful.” A lot of research exists about the positive benefits of gratitude, including improved mental and emotional health, physical health, relationships with others, and optimism. [Read more]


The Things We Carry: The Importance of Adult Regulation In the Midst of School Reopenings
Kelly Gleicshman
August 2021

I’ll start by stating the obvious: The collective trauma and grief that we have experienced over the last 18 months is profound – and ongoing. The effects of COVID-19 on our society overall are monumental in their scope and the implications for the education sector are just as colossal. As this school year starts, and most systems return to full-time in-person learning, we are currently attempting to modify an existing system to fit a reality that is entirely unlike anything that most of us have experienced in our lifetime. Leaders are carrying an enormous weight of responsibility on their shoulders every waking minute of the day, navigating an overwhelming amount of complexity and uncertainty while attempting to ensure school buildings are safe for students and staff.  Many leaders and staff members have shared with me that this school year is already much more difficult than last year, which feels unsurprising: We are attempting to renegotiate our entire way of doing in-person learning while our bodies are simultaneously carrying the weight of heightened anxiety that comes with living through continued collective trauma and ongoing grief.  [Read more]


EdFuel’s Anti-Racism Organizational Work & Pledge Update
May 2021

How We’re Doing this Work – and What We’re Learning Along the Way 
In 2020, EdFuel formally adopted the organizational goal and priority to be explicitly anti-racist. EdFuel has always strived to model inclusive behavior and equitable practices; however, we realized the need to formalize, codify, and review our existing internal and external policies, practices, and operations so that we were not inadvertently promoting white supremacy culture. Before this formalization and codification could begin, it was important to assess our internal and external policies and practices.

We began this work in the second half of 2020, researching organizations that have undertaken similar work. We learned that many organizations who have embarked on a similar journey developed some type of working group or internal advisory committee to guide the organization’s work. So, we formed our own. To ensure this work was prioritized, we explicitly allocated staff capacity to the working groups, which are comprised of four staff members of color who were interested in pursuing this work. [Read more]


EdFuel’s Anti-Racism Organizational Work & Pledge
February 19, 2021

Last summer, after the murder of George Floyd and the subsequent national reckoning with racism in all its forms, EdFuel sent out a message to our community about our beliefs and commitments as an organization. Our main goal of that message was to make our organizational values clear and to specifically acknowledge and affirm that Black Lives Matter. We also committed to looking inward at our own practices and how we can advance as an anti-racist organization instead of operating as one that perpetuates a culture of white supremacy.

We believe that how we take action matters immensely. Since last summer, we have assessed our practices both internally and externally to determine what anti-racist policies and practices already exist within our organization, and where there is room to grow. In order to ensure that this work remains a priority, we have taken several steps forward, including making our anti-racist journey a key 2021 organizational priority and engaging both internal team members and our Board of Directors to help us clarify our vision and strategy. [Read more]


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