November is a particularly tough month in teaching. Find out how we can help you to take more care of yourself and get through it.
Here I am again, as August draws to a close and September looms, I turn my thoughts to the big RETURN TO SCHOOL, as ever, with a mixture of excitement and dread. Full of good resolutions to take better care of myself: eat better, sleep better, have a better work-life balance, change my own internal narrative, and generally improve my routines. I do it every year, and always some resolutions work better than others. I start off with great enthusiasm – I feel invincible in the summer holidays – but I know that by November, I’ll be struggling with leaving home and returning in the dark, resentful about yet another round of assessments and generally too bogged down and tired to cook properly or get enough exercise, which, as a result, makes me feel even more tired and bogged down. Sound familiar?
November seems particularly tough in teaching. It’s the only month that we work all the way through – no half terms or bank holidays for a bit of respite. I think we all find it really hard at times, to break that cycle of rushing home in the dark to get back to a warm house to do yet more marking and preparation. In my years of teaching I have learned that, although I can be really susceptible to that ‘hamster wheel’ behaviour, I also know that I can teach a much better lesson when I’ve moved. Moving helps me think, relax, sleep better. I know that when I’ve given some attention to myself and to others; when I’ve had the opportunity to be creative and imaginative, to think beyond and outside deadlines, then, even if I’ve done less preparation, I’m a happier teacher and colleague, and I teach better (happier, more creative and spontaneous) lessons as a result.
My new Wellbeing for Teachers sessions are my way of putting my own experience into practice for all of us who work in schools.
Do you want to stay out on a dark night when you could be at home eating a takeaway in front of the TV?
No, I know you don’t, but that’s exactly why we’ve timed the Wellbeing Sessions for November, when we all most need it and are least equipped to look for it. So sign up now. Please do get in contact with me through on route for further information. And I’ll let you know how I get on with my own resolutions!
Wellbeing for teachers: A group for teachers, teaching assistants, pastoral and admin staff is on Thursdays from 5.30-6.30pm from 11th October. Click here to find out more.
Sarah Williams has been a teacher at Greenford High School since 2001 and in the profession for 20 years. As well as teaching (MFL and drama), Sarah has also mentored trainee teachers and NQTs and has been Head of Year and Head of Department. As a Dance Movement Therapist, Sarah works in the NHS and in the community, mostly within adult mental health. Sarah has designed her current course to bring together her skills and experience both in teaching and in mental health – to support colleagues in a field she knows well.