Many teachers run the risk of suffering from stress and burn-out. How can they release their anxieties and frustrations and refresh themselves?
Mario Rinvolucri offered one approach, 'mutual supervision', at the first seminar of a series organized by the British Council for teachers of English in 2010.
'Mutual supervision' is a system of peer co-counselling practised in an inter-dependent, confidential and non-judgmental way. Turns should be taken equally between the supervisor and the supervisee, where the reflections on the classroom practice, the teaching strategies and the teacher-student relationships are shared. The prime role of the supervisor is to listen with full attention and empathy, sometimes with a short comment or question helping to focus the supervisee’s thinking.
Mario helped the audience consider their own potential stressors and reflect on their support networks through giving them an interactive quiz and the chance to work in pairs. One of the highlights of the evening was the chance to see Mario doing on-the-spot supervision with a volunteer teacher from the audience. Participants came away from the evening refreshed and aware of some of the ways that they can avoid stress in their professional lives.