Self-care for instructors

Much of what instructors do is geared towards supporting students, but it is also important to acknowledge boundaries, set limitations, and take care of yourself.


Teaching consultations

Teaching and Learning Services (TLS) offers a consultation service designed to assist instructors, administrators, and staff in analyzing and enhancing or developing their teaching skills. The service is free of charge to all McGill and Macdonald Campus faculty and staff.

Two types of TLS consultations

  • Individual consultations for instructors who would like assistance planning their courses, developing teaching strategies and skills, interpreting course evaluation questionnaire data, developing teaching portfolios, etc.
  • Unit/Program consultations involving all or a sub-group of individuals within a unit who are analyzing, developing, or improving a teaching program.

All consultations are provided as a service, at the request of instructors and/or teaching units, and all information pertaining to these consultations is considered strictly confidential.

A consultation might consist of one or two brief meetings to discuss specific aspects of an instructor's course or teaching, or that of a unit or program. This collaboration could continue throughout an entire term, with ongoing assistance from the consultant. A more in-depth consultation might involve:

  • Developing and applying specific teaching strategies and techniques.
  • Reviewing information about the course and the instructor's teaching collected from, for example, classroom observations by a consultant, interviews with the instructor, and/or information collected from students (e.g. through the MERCURY course evaluation service, or privately by the instructor through the learning management system).
  • Selecting aspects of instruction on which to focus.
  • Monitoring the effectiveness of these strategies and planning any relevant modifications.

This process is flexible and has proven useful in a variety of teaching situations, including lectures, laboratories, discussion groups, seminars, and clinical training.

Ideas for self-care

Every instructor will have their own unique approach to wellness. Here are some suggested strategies:

  • Identify signs you need self-care. When you are well, consider making a list of the signs that you need to care for yourself. Identifying early warning signs allows you to deescalate negative situations and understand indications of poor mental health (e.g. poor nutrition, irritability).
  • Consider activities and strategies that you find contribute to your wellness. These may be physical, creative, spiritual or mental in nature (e.g. grounding exercises, meditation, speaking with a loved one).
  • Identify supporters and connect with them. Supporters are individuals in your life who support your wellness and/or promote wellness in their own lives. Consider making regular contact with them to develop a support system (e.g. family, friends, coworkers, counsellors, neighbours, etc.)
  • Access resources available to you:
    • The Employee Assistance Plan (EAP) (514-843-7009 or 1-800-567-2433) is a confidential counselling service offering short-term counselling (4-6 sessions) and referral services 24 hours a day, 7 days a week - at no cost to members of the McGill University benefits program (or their spouse and dependent children). The McGill EAP provider, Morneau Shepell, provides you with direct access to qualified and experienced professionals from different fields (psychology, social work, educational counselling) who are accredited by their respective professional associates.
    • McGill Human Resources Health & Well-being works to promote a healthy lifestyle and work-life balance by offering employees events and challenges focused on a variety of health related topics, as well as information, tips and links to health and wellness resources.
    • Staff Fitness Program: McGill Athletics and Recreation offers a variety of fitness programs exclusively for McGill staff.


While this web page is accessible worldwide, McGill University is on land which has served and continues to serve as a site of meeting and exchange amongst Indigenous peoples, including the Haudenosaunee and Anishinabeg nations. Teaching and Learning Services acknowledges and thanks the diverse Indigenous peoples whose footsteps mark this territory on which peoples of the world now gather. This land acknowledgement is shared as a starting point to provide context for further learning and action.

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