With news of the new vaccination, Brexit and the ever-changing decisions on exams, teachers and support staff will have another hectic year of adapting, amending, and continuing to engage students in 2021.
With the new announcement of the even higher tiers from the government, making Christmas an even more difficult one for some – we are sure Covid-19 is going to impact teaching in the new year with more isolating and virtual teaching.
We hope that your schools are supporting you, you are receiving the correct encouragement and your mental health is protected and prepared for another unnatural new year.
Dunbar Education are more than just another agency and want you to know that we are here to support you in your current placement, or if you feel it’s time to move on, our consultants can talk you through numerous options and offer advice and find that perfect, next career move for your personal journey.
How can your current school, look after your wellbeing?
We want to provide some helpful tips and let you know how your school can help ease you into 2021.
1. Remote working, you’ve got this
If lockdown has taught us anything, teachers can work from home. We never thought we would have the opportunity or ability to do so, but classrooms, meetings with parents/staff, PPA can be completed from home. This flexibility can make such a difference when it is vitally needed to your health and well-being. Hopefully, leadership have learned to trust their staff.
2. Is the meeting necessary?
We have all been there, you come out of that meeting thinking “that could have been an email” – Yep. Well make it one! Think before arranging a meeting and why it is one. Does it need to be one? Think of your other members of staff and suggest it to others – if this can be done within an email, do it. Save on the interruption and workload.
3. Email Anxiety!
Ok, I know this kind of goes against the above – but hopefully with less meetings, you can actually get through your emails! Saying this, before sending one, ensure this is needed also. Think of the time that your email is being sent and think about who your ‘email all’ is sending to. Does it need to be everyone? Email anxiety is real, so try and reduce the overload. This will create less work for you and your colleagues. Also, if the email is extremely important – should it be an email? Communication is key.
4. Stop the fluff – make it matter
So the last 3 points are all linked and communication IS key. If anything, just remember to think why you are choosing your means of communication. We do not encourage the email overload and the unnecessary meetings. But if you do need to deliver important information, ensure your message is clear. Everyone is busy and things get missed. Whether this is to staff or parents, everyone has things going on. Get direct to the point and repeat where necessary so it is memorable, and things get done.
5. Stress less!
Much easier said than done, we understand. However, this has been a year of change and everyone has felt the difficult affects it has had. Have a break, step back and press pause. We know you are concerned about your teaching methods, your PPE, ensuring your students are engaged and your workload. But you’ve got this – even when you feel like you haven’t.
The joys of teaching is being organised and passionate. If you took part in extracurricular classes to enrich your students, or you wanted to put in polices or initiatives; you may have to still put these things on hold in 2021 – but relax. One day this will go back to a ‘normal’ routine. We are all learning to adapt, and other obstacles will come up.
6. Don’t change
We don’t mean who you are. Obviously, we wouldn’t want you to do that either as you and all teachers have proved this year you are heroes! But because of this, you have already had to adapt so much. You adapted your usual teaching functions at the drop of hat; becoming masters of online learning, the need to think about masks and cleaning as well as your teaching.
Creating rotas and then adapting again as another announcement was made, learning to socially distance – all of these unnatural behaviours until this year! So why create more changes or rules in the school? Most of this year has been out of our hands, if you do not need to change a process or make an amendment if its not necessary, let’s not do it! We need to keep consistency for the sake of yourself and your students.
7. Let’s focus back to your department
Especially in secondary teaching. If your school is back to teaching within the classroom, let’s focus on our subjects as much as we can. You have a subject you love, that is why you’re teaching it, right?! To give all that knowledge back and engage your students with that passion. The many amendments of how we have had to learn this year has had its impact, but now we need to try get back into why we are doing it all in the first place. Let us get back to that high quality teaching. Work together as a department to encourage subject-specific strategies to support your students learning.
8. Unnecessary exam weeks
Over the years, most schools will have exam weeks built in the calendar for mocks etc. If these exam weeks are not for Year 11, 12 or 13, what is the point? Of course, there is a point and we need to monitor other years learning; however, is this necessary this year? Especially if GCSE exams are cancelled again. The additional workload is not convenient, and you will have to socialise outside your bubbles for an unnecessary task.
9. Get support
If there were things you were struggling within your teaching previously, you can always ask for help. Whether that’s planning, subject specific issues, behaviour management… If things play on your mind, they are going to cause stress and resentment. Ask for help when you need it and take away some of that pressure.
10. Talk to each other
Whether you are support member of staff or senior leadership, linking with the above, check in with your staff and colleagues. This has been an incredibly tough year for the world, and we all have our own battles. Ask if your colleagues are ok or if they need support.
Mental health doesn’t know what position or status you are in within your school, we can all suffer. Make sure you are ok and make sure the people around you are also. Approach with a smile and encourage positivity, wellness and ask if someone is ok or needs support. You can make a huge difference and can even save a life.
It has been a whirlwind this year of information and negativity. Let’s ease into 2021 and do our best, that’s all we can do.
Everyone at Dunbar Education wishes you a Merry Christmas and a better New Year.