Live from the Emerald Isle, the focus today was on strategies to help us take care of ourselves, enjoy work and retain a balance in our lives. Jen Egan and Paula Creber both spoke of personal strategies and modes of existence that worked for them.
- Most of us chose to teach a particular subject because its what we loved to do at one point. We may not always love our subject in the classroom, but find an opportunity to do what you love outside the classroom… try a sport, join in with the musical etc. This gives you something to look forward to but also means you get to know the students in a different way and they get to know you as someone who wants to join in etc. This is what makes school enjoyable for the kids so why not for you too?
- Speak to people! No man is an island like the old saying goes so don’t hide away in your office or classroom. Talk to people, especially from outside your department. Its easy to find yourself talking shop at every lunch and break. Chatting to people teaching different types of subject may help you to figure out a new approach to a particular group.
- Think of yourself. Not everyone has the choice or want to work at home but maybe try marking in your pjs on your sofa rather than in you classroom.
- If you do decide to stay in school to mark etc do it with a friend. Put on some music and stick the kettle on.
- Play music between lessons/at break etc.
- We spend our days around the kids so treat yourself as a child once in a while – have some sweets!
- Chat to people (adults and students) while on duty. It makes the time go faster and can change your relationship with students.
- Reward yourself! We are encouraged to reward the students at every opportunity don’t forget to reward yourself. Try to leave school on time at least every two weeks with no plans for work in the evening. Make sure you have a life!
- Share the funny bits not just the horrible bits.
- Leave it in school when you can. Try to not carry stress with you… its only a job! (It’s a very important one but the bottom line is that it is only a job)
So what can we do to look after ourselves?
Teacher Toolkit has a 5 minute well-being plan with suggested processes and support strategies – well-worth a look. Paula spoke about utilising our support network – friends and family, as well as having a cut-off point for when the school bag gets shut.
Alongside this, we owe it to ourselves to mind ourselves, and taking care of body and mind with our intakes of food, drink and exercise.
Pay it forward as well, by helping others for that feel-good factor that we all can get by doing good:
‘When I do good, I feel good. When I do bad I feel bad. And that’s my religion.’ Abraham Lincoln.
Before we became an Academy we were a Community school for many years, and that community ethos is still here – for staff and students, so tap into that as well if you need a helping hand. It will fill your glass…