News Bulletin February 2020

News Bulletin February 2020

I spoke to a CEO from a chain of secondary schools in Surrey last week who told me that there is no such thing as a work life balance during term time. She told me that she and staff work from 7.30am until 7.30pm, seven days a week during term time.

When teachers are unwell they still come into work because they avoid putting additional pressure on other staff. Most weekends can be taken up by marking and admin.

Teachers put student’s first and their health second. Those with families are stretched with time further. This is damaging in the long term and nobody can work at full pressure constantly for long periods of time. Teachers are not always able to take a break.

I have been able to achieve a work : life balance by carrying out some analysis; plotting important and urgent lecturing activities against my personal teaching values, not compromising quality and learner outcomes by developing a plan which puts both my work and learner priorities first. In devising a plan that fits with my family, it has been a conscious change to continue the fitness and healthy lifestyle I was previously accustomed to before embarking on a teaching career.

Without such a plan, I would have continued dropping into bed exhausted, having not taken the time to eat the nutrition I needed, or exercise regularly, mentally, physically and emotionally drained with no relaxation time. Even as an individual with very high energy, I knew the difference as a trainer working for the private sector and the impact teaching in the public sector has on your mind, body and overall health should you continue to ignore health and safety aspects such as posture and meditation moments, however short. Without the latter, the ability to remain professional and calm under extreme conditions would be extremely stressful.

Due to government funding cuts and increased volume of students, a higher amount of learners with SEND and supporting their emotional and mental health issues, teachers increasingly become psychologists. Moreover, government cuts have resulted in less staff and support for learners. Teacher resilience is stretched further and we have to be at full fitness to deliver the differentiation and bespoke adaptations students deserve.

We cannot continue to serve others in this way without being mindful of our own happiness. Taking time to share experiences, regularly with other teachers is also important, in a safe space. Be creative.

So as February is the month of Love – maybe it is time to show some love to yourselves! Not just others – by looking after your own work, life balance.

Book on the next teacher / trainer retreat by emailing [email protected] and understand how you can manage your time as well as devise a plan that works for you to ensure you can sustain your teaching for as long as you wish.

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