Drawing on interviews with over 200 educators in Ontario, Canada, about how they deal with student wellbeing, this paper highlights issues that teachers and leaders raised about their own wellbeing. As is true for many other front-line professionals, teachers’ wellbeing is always at risk because some aspects of the job can be “heartbreaking”. Schools and districts provided some responses to teacher wellbeing such as yoga, online courses in mindfulness, and so on. But educators report that the major threats to and solutions for wellbeing are in how their work is organized and what is expected of them in these times.
Wellbeing is enhanced when teachers feel able to teach what they believe in and not, for instance, to have to prepare students for standardized tests that teachers believe harm young children. It is enhanced when teachers have opportunities and time to work in a collaborative environment supported by their peers. And wellbeing is strengthened when teachers feel trusted to exercise professional judgments together on behalf of their students rather than being overloaded with too many top-down initiatives.