To help us ensure that our new Teacher and School Staff Wellbeing area would meet the needs of school staff and early years practitioners, we asked an experienced teacher to give us her views on the information included, and how she might make use of the ideas it provides. She writes:
My name is Janie and I’ve been a primary school teacher for 15 years. I’ve been lucky enough to work across the Key Stages and am now in my favourite so far, EYFS!
I have taught in inner London schools (specifically in the borough of Camden) for the majority of my career and was also fortunate to have the opportunity to live and teach in New Zealand for a few years, too.
As teachers, we often hear the terms ‘wellbeing’ or ‘self-care’, roll our eyes and move on, hoping only for time to wade through the piles of marking/planning/prep and make it into a hot bath and bed.
Lately though, I increasingly get the importance of taking care of ourselves. I get that it’s important to take time away from our jobs because it’s actually not just about us. It’s about our families, our friends and, of course, the children we teach. It’s about having the energy to do the job with the same enthusiasm we had at the beginning, despite the expectations and pressures that we face, which, let’s face it, have only multiplied over the past 18 months.
The majority of us have juggled some combination of lockdowns, home learning, childcare and zoom calls – and that’s without factoring in serving our most vulnerable communities and the emotional fallout of all of the above. In short, we’ve held it all together so that others wouldn’t have to fall apart.
So what about us? Well, this is where the National Literacy Trust comes in. I’ve used some of their workshops in the past, including over lockdown – their online author events are second to none, especially those involving Premier League football clubs. So when I was asked to explore their new wellbeing website and give some feedback I was intrigued.
Looking through the site I’ve found it easily accessible, concise and quick to use. It’s been compiled with teachers in mind, so no matter where you fall on the frazzled scale, there’s a range of resources and support, falling under these five headings:
There’s also a bonus section called Read – this is the National Literacy Trust after all!
Each section has easy ideas to help you connect with those around you and reconnect with what you’re doing and why you’re doing it. I can see how the Be Active section is going to help me with simple activities to do with my class and a brilliant ‘Yoga for Teachers’ section, which I’m hoping will help me focus on something other than benchmark assessments. I’m also hoping to use the Connect section to link up with other EYFS practitioners in my area to share ideas and the Learn section has a couple of great sessions I can access via zoom for my personal CPD.
I’ve set myself a small personal challenge to spend 10 minutes each week on the site, checking in and seeing if there’s anything I could be doing differently to make life a bit easier. After all, it’s the little wins that often end up being the biggest victories, right?