Wellbeing First, Teaching Second

Teachers talking in the staffroom

The following article comes from Lynn How, A Wellbeing Teacher and an Educational Consultant 

In a recent poll in my Facebook group, members overwhelmingly voted for needing support with their wellbeing whilst working in schools.
I can help with this. I can provide 101 ways to support your own wellbeing. I can encourage colleagues to take time for themselves. I can support them in reframing their thinking. What I can’t do is directly, is to improve their environmental factors that are detrimental to their wellbeing.  

An ex colleague of mine loved a bus analogy. Everyone in an organisation should be on the right seat on the bus. If you don’t like it, get off the bus. Teachers are getting off the bus, they are choosing themselves over a profession they used to love. It’s a tough decision. Teachers are an altruistic species. We can think of 50 reasons to stay – the kids, my work bestie, those lessons that go perfectly… *wistful sigh*.  

I don’t know any teachers who would currently recommend it as a career path. When I meet a new and enthusiastic recruit who hasn’t quite grasped what they are in for, it takes a lot for me to not grasp them by the shoulders and give them a shake whilst screaming, ‘what are you doing?’ in their face. Instead I politely say that is nice and give them tips about setting boundaries (I should add here that there are also people that do love their jobs and their schools – this is a rather one sided view of things.) 

The recent White Paper has only increased our concern about where the profession is heading. We are unimpressed and no one is listening. 
After 20 years in education, I decided this year that I was done.  

  • Done not having the time to get to know the children properly.  
  • Done squashing a curriculum I don’t believe in into their little minds.  
  • Done with needing to fall in line with organisation expectations I don’t agree with.  

I can support them in reframing their thinking.

What’s more, I’m making it my mission to support other educators in their decision making as well as picking them up off the floor when their confidence has been shattered by the system. Once they have got up, I’m helping them see that they have excellent transferable skills and companies outside of education would really value their amazing work ethic, excellent project management skills and of course, the side effect of teaching of the ability to smile at your class when you’re dying inside (you shouldn’t need to do this in other roles of course, so forget about that one!). 

I started out blogging in June 2020 on my own blog www.positiveyoungmind.com and this has gone from strength to strength, giving me the confidence I needed to branch out even further. I’m proud to be supporting our staff and young people navigate the education system.  
If you know of anyone struggling at the moment, please point them in the direction of my Facebook group where colleagues can be supported in improving their own wellbeing and work/life balance, whilst working in their current school. There is also support for anyone considering moving on to pastures new or who find themselves in a sticky work related situation.

There are free monthly meets as well as tools and coaching videos to support individual journeys. The group is growing all the time and there is regular new content.

Author: Lynn How

A Wellbeing Teacher and Educational Consultant

Lynn has been teaching for 20 years during which time she has been an Assistant Head, Lead Mentor for ITT and SENCO. She loves to write and has her own blog: www.positiveyoungmind.com. She has also just taken up the position of editor of Teacher Toolkit. She also has a couple of books on the way; both fiction and non-fiction. Lynn holds an MA in Education, NASENCO and NPQH. Her particular areas of interest are wellbeing (staff and pupil), SEND, children’s mental health, leadership, mentoring and coaching. Recently she has started an Educational Consultancy business for SEND (SEND support) and Teacher Wellbeing (The Wellbeing Lady).  

Facebook Group link: https://www.facebook.com/groups/coachingforteacherwellbeing

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