I was a teacher once, I left because I couldn’t hack it. Honestly. My passion wasn’t there and I could not handle the ‘results. results. results’ nature of it all. 😔
“Stop teaching fish to climb trees”
CLIMBING FISH 🐟
I sit with hundreds of Head teachers each year, who are mostly on the verge of breaking point, emotionally drained with the pressures put on them to disregard each individual child’s need in place of a SATS paper, that (and I quote from one of the most successful head teachers in the country): ‘Is too difficult for an adult with a doctorate, let alone a 10 year old’.
Last night, my girlfriend and I had a night out with close friends of ours – both in education, one’s a head teacher, the other a teacher. My other half, not in education, asked:
‘what is actually it like having six weeks off?’
She was surprised to hear the response being described as:
‘It’s like waiting for a delayed tube train; right now, it’s calm and you’ve got some time to yourself, but in the back of your mind you know that at any moment it’s going to come at you, packed, hot, rushed and stressful’.
With that thought in mind. I figured, I’d offer some advice, what little advice I can offer, from education, experience and general life that I hope just one person will take something from. 🐣 🐥
Here are three ‘QUICK TIPS’ I hope will, at the very least, allow you to think about yourself this term.
I’ve got your back. You are great. 👊
You are important 👸🏽 🤴🏽
As a teacher, you spend every day, from start to finish, putting the needs of students first. Each day brings something new; you are challenged, pulled in different directions and are expected to just get on with it, all whilst taking the brunt of misplaced anger from the student who is having a tough time at home. 🏚
You are a human being who has fears and worries of their own. You may also be a parent or a carer. But, regardless of who you really are, you are just ‘Miss’ or ‘Sir’, to your students.
I am convinced that no one should care for the wellbeing of others at the expense of their own. Having worked with teachers in both primary and secondary schools, I know how hard it is to find time for yourself amidst the planning, marking and other commitments. But, I’ve also seen how taking small steps to improve wellbeing can help teachers avoid that feeling of being completely weighed down by work. 🏋🏾♀️
This term, try some of these tips to make sure you start out on the right foot:
Be active 🤸♂️ 🤼♀️ 🤾🏿♂️ 🏌️♀️
Physical activity is proven to reduce stress. To a lot of us, exercise may seem time-consuming – something you’d obviously want to avoid doing in term-time. But exercise doesn’t always mean spending hours on a treadmill after a busy day. Instead, you could do some gardening, or cycle to work. On a lot of days, this may be difficult to fit in, but if you can make time for a small amount of activity even once or twice a week, you’ll still feel the benefits.
Be kind to yourself 🧘♀️ 🚣♂️
Allow yourself a little “me time” before bed to read a book or take a bath. It may seem like this won’t make a difference to the pressure you feel, but making sure you relax and wind down in the evening is proven to protect your heart, boost memory, help you make better decisions and lower the risk of depression!
It’s easy to get caught up in the stresses and worries of work. So, if you’re struggling to switch off, mindfulness can be a useful tool. These techniques can help you to focus on the present, rather than taking the stresses of school home with you.
Continue to connect 📲 👭
To be able to function well, we need to feel close to and valued by others. Sometimes you might feel too busy to socialise, but it is important that you don’t neglect the relationships you nurtured during the school holidays.
When you are back at work, make sure you still spend time with family or friends. This doesn’t have to mean ignoring your planning for a whole weekend – it could be as simple as watching a half-hour TV show with your family once a week, or meeting a friend for coffee one morning. 📺
Implementing these changes may seem impossible on top of your mountains of marking. But once you’ve put them into practice, it will be easier to make regular time for them, and looking after yourself will begin to feel like the priority it is! 🤗