1. Some students have reacted better to lockdown than others…
And you probably predicted which of them would most enjoy being off school. Unfortunately, in this year’s Children’s Mental Health Week, we know that coping with the pandemic means that young people are more likely to suffer mental health problems. Because they’re physically distanced from adults outside the family, they miss out on a whole layer of support from caring professionals who would normally be able to monitor their wellbeing and intervene.
You can still remind them that you care – and that there are people who are around if they need to talk. How about sending a message offering support or signposting other options? And don’t forget that young people often have good ideas about how to solve their own problems. Sometimes they just need a sounding board.
2. Getting organised is always recommended: right now it might just keep you on the straight and narrow
Now is not the time to shy away from colour-coding your equipment, or underlining the title of your to-do list.
Because so much of what we’re coping with just now is out of our control, taking charge of those things we do have power over is really empowering. Try making a plan for a week, rather than just a day at a time. It’ll help you to take stock, pace yourself, and avoid feelings of helplessness.
3. Teachers really are appreciated
It doesn't always feel like it, but people really do 'get' that teachers are doing a difficult job in almost impossible conditions. From free yoga sessions, to discounted groceries, fashion, car purchases, lots of different organisations are helping out and saying thank you where they can. Try a quick Google search - you won't regret it.
4. You can't beat pedagogy
Technology is all very well, and it's hard to imagine how we'd be coping without it right now, but of course, the tech isn’t what remote teaching and learning is actually about. You can have all the bells and whistles, but the interaction with students, and it outcomes are fundamentally dependent on the skills, experience and expertise of the teacher.
5. The school community can thrive outside the classroom
With remote learning there are real concerns about loneliness, welfare and lack of interaction. Take very opportunity to allow your students to contribute to lessons, to feel that they’re being heard, even when you’re not there in person, and think about how you can keep everyone in contact. And don’t forget, this goes for you, too. Make a point of picking up the phone or instigating a video call rather than relying on email to communicate with work friends and colleagues – you won’t regret it, and you’ll both benefit from the chance to catch up.
6. Fresh air is magic
Taking a break from your screen from time to time is vital – and if you can get outside, it’s even better. Fresh air will increase the flow of oxygen to your brain, boosting concentration skills, energy levels, and your body’s ability to protect itself from bacteria and other germs. You’ll also benefit from extra serotonin, and enjoy a mood boost from the all those happy hormones surging round your body.
7. Cake can save your life!
How often do you see Mary Berry without a smile on her face? Enough said.
Seriously though, there’s never been a more important time to think about your own wellbeing. None of this is easy, and we need to be in good shape ourselves in order to cope.
8. A solid routine can really help
If you’re one of those people who thinks routine is dull and restrictive, you may need to reassess. Having a personal timetable can really help when you’ve no longer got a commute to bookend your day.
Keeping to regular mealtimes can help with this. What doesn’t seem better, easier, more manageable when you’ve had a healthy breakfast? Adopting a sensible night time routine will mean that your sleep patterns benefit too, and your body and brain need that opportunity to revive themselves. Getting a good night’s sleep will help your immune system and stave off mental health problems such as anxiety and depression.
9. You’re most definitely not alone
There are countless opportunities to interact with like-minded education professionals who have as good as walked in your own shoes and who are ready, willing and able to share their experience with you. You could do much worse than check out #edutwitter next time you come across a bump in the road.
10. Sometimes we need to focus more on the effort and less on the outcome
If we think back over the last year, the restrictions, changes, and, quite honestly, the things that have always been set in stone that have simply been demolished by the pandemic, we’ve jumped through more hoops and over more hurdles than ever before.
It’s taken a massive effort (of course, we’re not through it yet) and being resilient, adaptable and responsive can be exhausting, and we all need a pat on the back from time to time. We have goals, for ourselves and the children and young people in our care, but today it may be enough to put 100% into getting it right just now. Let’s take a moment to celebrate the herculean effort it’s taking to pull this off, and the excellence we see in evidence every day.
Pertemps Education consultants spend most of their time talking to teachers – and some of us were in your shoes not so long ago. This gives us a unique insight into what makes you tick, and which schools would suit you wherever you are in your career. Please don’t hesitate to get in touch – that’s what we’re here for!