Resilience is from the Latin resilio meaning “to spring back”.
Naturally you would expect the army to teach resilience.
Soldiers are going to need to bounce back like a spring as they will inevitably meet a range of challenging, extreme and traumatic situations.
At Sandhurst’s School of Leadership, Security and Warfare, they have a forward-thinking unit at the cutting-edge of psychology called the Communication and Applied Behavioural Science (CABS) Department. This is where officer cadets are taught ways to build their mental resilience and self-esteem.
The aim of this department is to empower future officers with greater emotional awareness of themselves and their troops.
This is where teaching could learn a thing or two about how to structure it’s training. We have nothing equivalent and teaching training institutions don’t offer this level of care. There are no CABS within sight of a PGCE.
Teachers need to be resilient but many teachers who suffer from fragile mental health have never been taught the techniques for bouncing back. Most schools certainly don’t devote much time to it.
Teachers are expected to just get on with things but this DIY approach is seriously flawed for the situations teachers will find themselves in.
Major General Paul Nanson in Stand Up Straight talks about the above and tells us that we will all experience highs and lows, successes and failures in life. The successes and triumphs are the easy bits because they make us feel good but what about when things go pear shape? He says,
Sometimes we get bent out of shape by the obstacles life throws in our path. When this happens to cadets, we help them understand themselves, teach them how to change their thought patterns and how to put themselves back together again, only stronger.
Teachers don’t get that help. We are on our own and that is no way to build a teaching force with backbone that will be able to manage failure and bounce back. Resilience simply has to be embedded into teacher training or teachers will fail.
The army are serious about military health but that can’t be said for schools and teacher training institutions in that the work that is being done is not coordinated enough and far too piecemeal. There is a lot of great advice out there but it’s all over the place and teachers really shouldn’t be having to look for it in the first place.
Although “school leadership can do a great deal to create environments where teachers are able to feel they can make a difference“, teachers deserve their own CABS.
See my other articles on resilience:
“It’s hard to deliver a world-class education when you feel awful and your resilience tank is out of rebound fuel. It’s even harder when system failures have deployed stingers across every road you drive down.”