Why Early Educators are Leaving the Teaching Field and How Yoga for Kids Can Help
By Risheek Priyadarshi, Pretzel Kids content writer
For years, teachers have been notoriously underpaid and overworked. Yet the pandemic has exacerbated this issue.
Between COVID 19 and fearing for their own safety, educators are more stressed than ever before.
Why are Early Educators Leaving? What is the ‘Big Resignation’?
The stress has caused ripple effects across school districts and preschool nationwide. Many teachers have thrown in the towel and resigned. Some are choosing new careers. All told, there is a growing labor shortage in the educational sector.
But let’s back up a minute. There are labor shortages everywhere.
You may have heard about ‘The Big Resignation’ in the news. Basically, the Big Resignation, or the Big Quit, is a nationwide movement in which people are resigning or quitting their jobs. In July of 2021 alone, nearly four million people quit their jobs, according to Harvard Business Review.
Businesses, both small and large, are struggling to find employees willing to work for the same wages as they did before the pandemic.
Now, let’s talk about teachers. Educators are often on the same pay scale as McDonald’s workers. This has led, in part, to a high turnover rate that has been increasing in the past year for teachers across the nation.
Another—and drastically more complicated—reason for this increasing turnover rate has been, you guessed it, the pandemic. Education hiring has always been handled at the local level, which means that different school districts can have their own hiring standards. This model worked pre-pandemic due to the fact that some districts had more funding.
The drawback, which is becoming ever more apparent, is that there is no unified leadership when it comes to tackling schooling during the pandemic. Policy battles over mask mandates, vaccines, and more have worked their way into school boards and districts. Unfortunately, the unintended victims in all these localized skirmishes are teachers and students.
Fortunately, there are many dedicated teachers who are staying in the field, and for this we are grateful! But, this doesn’t take away from the stress and uncertainty felt by many. For this reason, we wanted to dive into how yoga for kids can help. Even if yoga can help alleviate a tiny bit of stress, we feel it’s worth it. Read on to learn more.
How Can Yoga for Kids Help?
It can be overwhelming for a child to experience the current situation in the world.
Feelings of frustration and helplessness are common because they are too young to actually change their own circumstances. In these times, it is a good idea to be mindful of the stress that kids are experiencing, and find ways to help them with healthy coping mechanisms.
Yoga for kids, however, is the perfect outlet to help alleviate that tension for both you and your children. Yoga has many benefits for children regardless of their age, so here are 5 examples of how yoga can help children beyond just alleviating their stress.
1. Yoga Increases strength and flexibility
Yoga helps build physical strength, flexibility and balance. Poses like cobra pose, for example, can help stretch out your back, which is crucial for kids as they spend so much time hunched over while at their desks all day long.
2. Yoga provides discipline and self-confidence
Yoga helps create a mind and muscle connection. The poses, combined with calming breathing exercises and meditation, can help create healthy coping mechanisms against negative influences in kids’ environments. Additionally, yoga can help children learn to control emotions as they focus on their breathing and mindfulness techniques. This helps children become more disciplined.
On top of that, children can use calming meditation to approach their emotions and thoughts, thereby helping with their own self-esteem and confidence.
3. Yoga Improves sleep
For a growing child, the importance and power of sleep cannot be understated. But, if children and teens practice yoga or meditation before going to sleep, they can help alleviate any stress that accrued during the day, hence making it easier to get a full night’s rest. There are many poses, as well as breathing exercises, that can help achieve this goal.
4. Yoga for kids is fun!
What is one of the best ways to make something fun? You guessed it: turn it into a game! If your child is having a hard time practicing yoga in a more serious environment, it is time to break out some yoga games. The best part is that there are so many yoga games to choose from! You can play Yogi Says, which is just like Simon Says but with yoga poses instead. Alternatively, you can play Yoga Tag if you have at least two speedsters ready to play.
5. Yoga for Anxiety
There is stress, which is temporary and can differ based on the situation. And then there is anxiety and trauma, which can be an emotional response to a sometimes life-altering event. The process of healing from trauma can be complicated but yoga for anxiety can help kids navigate difficult times.
How Can Yoga in School Help Teachers and School Administrators?
We know yoga can help teachers navigate this difficult time – and help kids in so many ways, as illustrated above.
Sometimes a great first step is to reach out to a local kids yoga company. Pretzel Kids, for example, works with preschools, daycare centers, after-school programs and K-12 schools all over the country. We talk to individual school directors, teachers and administrators to place a highly-skilled children’s yoga instructor at each particular school.
We know from our decades of experience that Pretzel Kids yoga instructors can help ease the amount of overwhelm by providing youngsters with fun yoga classes that will keep them engaged physically, mentally, and emotionally. Not only that but the Pretzel Kids curriculum is trusted by professionals across the country.
Here’s another big plus to bringing in a Pretzel Kids instructor: While our teachers are working with the kiddos, the classroom teachers get a much-needed break. This, in turn, can help prevent burnout from being overworked.
How Can Parents Alleviate the Stress Faced by Teachers?
Communication is key here – with teachers, school administrators, and your children. Also, get involved with your school by volunteering, and attend school board meetings to advocate for teachers’ rights and provide feedback.
You might even want to consider becoming a yoga instructor yourself. This way maybe you can teach at your child’s school and get involved that way!
Risheek Priyadarshi is a contributing writer for Pretzel Kids. He recently graduated from Santa Clara University after studying economics, math, and computer science. His hobbies include a rekindled passion for yoga, running, boxing, and reading!