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What will you do to save your sanity, health, and wellbeing?

One half term down, five to go. I wrote my original list for Teacher Toolkit back in 2018 but it’s time for a revamp, especially under current circumstances. We need to reflect and look towards the rest of the year ahead with the goal of making it to July with your sanity, health and work-life balance intact. 

Although there is much workload sent down from on high and confusion over best practice in these challenging times, there are small things that you can consider in order to ensure your year is as healthy and productive as possible. Consider the following ideas and make yourself your own Teacher Wellbeing Oath.

This is mine.

This half-term I will

  1. Ensure that I factor in my own health, family, and wellbeing before saying yes to anything.
  2. Not sit idle in staff meetings. I promise to politely and constructively challenge any extra workload that does not seem to be beneficial to our pupils
  3. I will seek out the reasoning behind any risk assessment/Covid related rules that I am unsure of or disagree with.
  4. Tackle problems with solutions, by endeavouring to be a solution-driven person, adding further to workplace productivity and saving time in the process.
  5. However busy I am, I will put SEMH and student wellbeing at the heart of my pedagogy. I will listen to their concerns (however trivial) and reassure them.
  6. Put on my life jacket first. I will ensure that I am fit and well enough both mentally and physically to support the students in my care effectively.
  7. Seek support when work-life balance is not balanced resulting in work-related stress or similar. I will get support or make a change before the issue becomes serious.
  8. Remember that children are children and inject elements of fun into this curriculum (albeit controlled fun!).
  9. Encourage school-wide SEMH practices to support all children and staff with their SEMH post lockdown.
  10. Remember that parents do not always have the skills to support their children emotionally or with basic life skills. Although many of these areas fall outside of my remit, I will support where appropriate.
  11. Fight for extra support for those who need it in class, evidencing issues, getting parents on side and badgering SLT, and the SENDCo if a child falls into a SEND category – and is not receiving the help they need.
  12. Challenge my 24/7 availability by text and email outside of work hours by having work communication free times and not responding quickly or at all to things that can wait until the morning.
  13. Remember that lessons that take longer to plan than to teach, are generally not worth the effort.
  14. Take on board constructive feedback and dismiss feedback which had poor delivery, or was not useful to my development as a professional.
  15. Continue to take the time to do things I enjoy and plan weekends away, spa trips, and nights in the pub without feeling guilty. Amended to – plan anything you can that is fun and legal!
  16. Create new healthy habits e.g. more sleep, meditation, and fitness.
  17. Look after my colleagues, check for signs of stress or burnout, and support those who need it.

This year has really made me stop and think about my priorities. Being directly impacted by Covid related bereavements has brought a sense of perspective about what is important into sharp focus. Like many people, this year has changed me (for the better in many instances) and will continue to do so. Keep looking for those silver linings.

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