Here is another fortnightly share of educational aspects which have been of interest to me.
Each fortnightly post will feature a combination of the following:
- Blog posts
- EdTech news
- Educational resources
- Hashtags to check out
- Leadership focuses
- Pedagogical strategies
- SEND focuses
- Twitter chat recommendations
- Well being focuses
As someone that has participated in the #teacher5aday wellbeing initiative created by Martyn Reah for many years (see this link for full details of #teacher5aday), I was delighted at how easily I fulfilled the 5 aspects during my half term break. These included:
#connect attending a fortieth birthday party
#exercise a long and leisurely walk in North London with Penny (Twitter handle: @Penny_Ten)
#learn interesting learning points from the amazing Brett (Twitter handle: MRsalakas) about the Australian school year, Austin in Texas and the power of poetry.
#notice noticing local stores that had closed down. The fact that they closed in January 2020 and I had walked past oblivious until last week, made me realise that I am not as mindful as I like to think…
#volunteer baby sitting young relatives.
With my return to school, I have been considering how we can create systems, to sustain work-life balance in ways that best help us. Educators are very familiar with the intention to maintain much of what helped us to relax during our holidays. Yet it quickly dissipates under the demands of our role.
The following are a round up linked to the theme of sustainable and systemic well-being strategies for educators.
Victoria Hewett’s (Twitter handle – @MrsHumanities) blog ‘What teachers want from SLT to improve their well-being’ is written with the understanding of classroom teacher / school leader challenges. The blog covers different aspects that can lead to systemic changes in whole school well-being, such as ‘no to well-being days’ and ‘support not scrutiny’.
The six questions posed for all (middle and senior) leaders to consider before implementing changes are a must read. As Victoria states, these questions will help school leaders ‘question and assess’ the impact of any school wide changes that are being considered.
Hashtags to check out
During the weekend, a new hashtag was shared #stoptalkingaboutwellbeing
It coincides the launch of Kat Howard’s (Twitter handle: @SaysMiss) book ‘ Stop Talking About Wellbeing’. I had the privilege of attending Kat’s session ‘How can we improve conditions for teachers?’ at the Educating Lincs event in February. It was an extremely thoughtful overview highlighting many of the current teacher recruitment and retention issues within the UK.
One point Kat made during her session, has stayed with me is:
‘There’s always a reason behind why someone isn’t doing something and we need to explore what those reasons are’.
Kat’s book will help educators explore strategies that can help to ‘change workload within schools’ and ‘challenge the norm to create a profession built to last’ .
Patrick Ottley O’Connor (Twitter profile: ) is an Executive Principal, Director of Collaborative Leadership Ltd and an Ambition Institute facilitator / coach. As a member of the #teacher5aday Steering Group, Patrick provides invaluable insights in how he places well-being at the heart of school improvement. The blog ‘Leading on staff mental health’ summarises some of his approaches that facilitate whole school and individual well-being focuses.
Viv Grant (Twitter handle: @Vivgrant) is a former Head Teacher, Director of Integrity Coaching and Senior Leader Well-being Advocate. She is also the author of ‘Staying a Head: The Stress Management Secrets of Successful School Leaders. Viv regularly shares updates via email, Twitter and through her website of ways that school leaders can survive (and thrive) in their roles and ‘avoid personal sacrifices’.
You can read her personal experiences as a Head Teacher, that led to the development of the support she provides, in the link below:
Viv’s blog ‘We must change our thinking about teacher well-being’ is an interesting reflection in the failure of some well-being policies. This includes a disconnect between well-being policies and the motivations of staff, key strategies to help educators take charge of their own well-being and approaches that can prevent emotional burn out.
If you want to explore how Viv’s suggestions could work for you, there is an opportunity to register and receive a free 30 minute coaching call with her (details in this link):