I am in a reflective mood this rainy August morning. This blog may stray onto a bit of a personal theme, so forgive me. Back in December I pledged to take up the #teacher5aday challenge and pledged to focus on 5 areas of my practice with the aim of improving my Wellbeing. The idea behind this is teachers that look after themselves and acknowledge that their Wellbeing will impact on their practice will be happier and more effective educators. It is not rocket science but often overlooked and undervalued part of a school’s recruitment and retention policy. This will become increasingly important as the teacher shortage worsens. Schools spend £56 million on adverts for teaching staff, an average of £17000 a school.
I love teaching and cant think of a job I would rather do, I am not overly political and try to avoid negative articles about the profession, moans and rants etc. I honestly think they contribute to a negative feedback loop that I for one don’t want to be involved in. It is stressful and the workload can go from manageable to overwhelming in hours. If you are not happy in yourself and with your job you will struggle. I have at times I’m not ashamed to admit it. The only time I have felt like leaving is when both home and work are proving… difficult. Then I long for a 9-5 where I can leave all thoughts of work when I clock out. I have had jobs like these and I left them for teaching. There was not enough challenge, not enough vitality or unpredictability for me.
Whilst I think there are many areas in which the leadership team in schools can support staff Wellbeing. If we want immediate change, if we want to control our own destiny, we can take the power back!!! Seriously we can and should take the lead in identifying areas we can make small changes in to make life better. Areas that we could adapt, if even slightly, to make life easier, to ensure we are a bit healthier. This is turn should make us more resilient and able to manage stressful situations. So we have #teacher5aday and its initiatives to focus key areas essential to Wellbeing. I have written about it before here. The areas I pledged to be more aware of were:
#Connect: I have connected with a number of educators offline, I attended & presented at my first teachmeet and spoke at the Bett show. This gave me great opportunities to talk to people outside of Kent!
#Exercise: From walking to work to improving my diet I have done more on this area recently than I have for years. The #teacher5adaybreakfast initiative this summer really focused me on this. I became a single dad in July and needing something positive to boost me up over the summer. My Daughter & I have enjoyed getting into cooking and trying new things. I have even lost a bit of weight. The community spirit of this has really helped keep me on track.
#Notice: I have had more time to think, not always a good idea but it means I have been able to take much more time with my daughter doing, well just stuff really.
#Learn: I completed my NPQML, this has really helped me in my role and I met some great people. Doing it with 2 colleagues really helped, I have now applied for the NPQSL. Career wise I dont know what this means. I like being in leadership, but I love being in my classroom as well. Apparently there is also a headteacher crisis. I’m not sure I would ever want to be a head, or if anyone would give me the job! Anyway I think career thoughts can wait until the end of the year.
#Volunteer: Um… nope not yet.
I hope you are all enjoying your summers. Keep up the #teacher5aday-ing