#UKEdChat Session 405 – Thursday 24th May 2018
Teachers are notorious for ignoring health concerns and just carrying on. From teaching with a high fever, and soldiering on with 4 hours of sleep, teachers often put their health at risk. But does this make teachers more productive, or less?
In this session of #UKEdChat, we discussed the current state of your health and the teachers around you, and what schools do which impacts positively and negatively on the health of their staff.
This session was hosted by @LukeRicha.
- What impact has teaching had on your health?
- Can being physically healthy as a teacher be difficult? Why (not)?
- What coping strategies do you use to deal with pressure, stress and anxiety?
- Do you feel your teaching workload is manageable?
- How do you relax as a teacher?
- How could we make our schools more health conscious?
- What advice would you give a new teacher to help them cope?
- Does the way we look after ourselves set a good example for our students?
Read the discussion archive here
Summary, by @LukeRicha.
The ethos of teaching is putting someone before yourself. We do it because we care, we want to positively influence the lives of the students we teach – this comes before almost everything else. However, vast numbers of teachers suffer because of the workload, stresses and anxieties of the job. It was great to hear so many different opinions over the course of the chat – those who were working towards a healthy balanced lifestyle, and some that accepted that it was an impossible dream!
Here are a few takeaways that I’ve been thinking about since the discussion:
“It’s taken a long time to reach this point. For the first few years of teaching, I was trying to keep up with everything and it was tiring.” @keran77 talked very honestly about sticking with the hard parts of the profession because it does get easier as you become more experienced.
“Best gift you can give is to show up as your best self. To do this you have to fill yourself up first. Rest, exercise, fresh air, family, friends, fun, laughter, sleep, nutrition are all important.” Some great advice here for new teacher (or any of us actually) from @KarenDellArmi. Teaching is a physical job and the students can see when you’re struggling with low energy and tiredness – that’s not inspiring. Do the students and your lessons justice by getting the rest and nutrition you need.
“Ask for help and support when needed! If people don’t know you’re struggling, there’s no way to provide support.” @msmorrisenglish spoke about the importance of communicating with the people around you. She’s totally right, teaching is a very challenging job, but we sometimes forget we aren’t in it alone. Reach out to someone if you don’t already.
“Make sure you create some real “corridors” of time off between work. Take one whole day off a week. Make time for family, hobbies and friends. Look after your wellbeing, and you can look after your students’ wellbeing!” @fieldsofmindedu talked about protecting your time off with the same veracity you would your work. Downtime is important. You need the rest to be able to work effectively.
“ln every new policy you introduce you must consider if this is increasing or decreasing workload. If it’s the former – then don’t do it” @Malcpd discussed the importance of considering the workload impact when making a change or suggesting something new. This is a great way to think about change in school because ultimately it is all a balancing act between the students’ attainment and the teachers’ time – somewhere the two have to meet.
“The thing with teaching is that the ‘to do list’ is never done – you could always keep going if you let yourself.” @vicks_marshall reminded us of the teacher’s never-ending to-do list, we have to be experts at time management and prioritizing.
“Be the change you want to see in the kids.” @savedyouaspot finished the discussion with this lovely comment. As teachers, our influence goes beyond the lessons we teach. Our example is so important. They need to see people who lead balanced, healthy and happy lives.