- Wellbeing strategies for teachers and support staff+
1. Reconnect to your purpose
Try to do one thing each week that reminds you why you became a teacher in the first place.
Get started: Use a teaching strategy that you and your students all enjoy to remind you of the difference you’re making in their lives.
2. Adopt a growth mindset in your teaching
There’s great value in trying new things and accepting mistakes as opportunities to learn. We could all do with a reminder of the power of ‘yet’. It can be helpful to see yourself as a learner (just like your students) and to spend time reflecting on new ideas, considering what you have learnt and acknowledging areas that you find challenging.
3. Focus on kindness and gratitude
An act of appreciation or kindness produces positive emotions, stronger social connections and improved wellbeing. Consider simple ways you can build gratitude and kindness into your day. And the best thing? Kindness and gratitude are contagious, so imagine the benefit to your classroom!
Get started: Each night, recall three good things that have happened during the day. To make it easy to keep track, check out the Gratitude Journal app.
4. Create clear boundaries between home and school
Set a reasonable time for leaving school each day (and stick to it). Find ways to turn off your teacher mindset, so that you can relax when you get home.
Get started: Try developing an end-of-day ‘ritual’ to help you switch mindsets. It may include changing your clothes when you get home, heading out for an afternoon walk, or spending time with family and friends. In addition, try to limit the amount of school work you bring home.
5. Set up effective debriefing and mentoring structures
Teaching can be an emotionally taxing job that throws up many different challenges. Set up structures that help you to focus on solutions rather than problems. While a venting session may make you feel better in the short term, it doesn’t solve the problem and may make you feel stuck.
Get started: Consider using a debriefing structure to help manage your thinking about challenging situations. Or team up with a supportive colleague and set up a formal mentor relationship structure.
6. Establish good sleeping habits
Good-quality sleep is one of the most important aspects of maintaining your physical and psychological health. This can be a tough ask after the late nights and long sleep-ins you’ve probably indulged in during your holiday break!
Get started: Develop a regular bedtime routine, which may include taking a warm bath, reading quietly for a while or having a warm milk drink. Consider using a sleep app.
7. Build up your emotional resilience
Think of proactive ways to manage the stress in your life. Meet regularly with friends and family, spend time on hobbies you enjoy, read or watch things that make you laugh, and build into your daily routine proven stress-busting activities such as yoga, meditation or exercises that involve deep breathing.
8. Keep focused on your goals
Setting goals is a great way to give you direction, focus and motivation. Try to ensure that all your goals are achievable, measurable and have an end point. It can be helpful to break a larger goal into more manageable sub-goals.
Get started: Think of something that, if you do it today, will make you feel satisfied and accomplished. Then do it!
9. Reward yourself
The improved physical and psychological health that comes from prioritising your wellbeing is a reward in itself, but there’s also value in using tangible rewards when you meet particular goals.
Get started: Consider simple and practical ways to reward yourself whenever you reach a goal or sub-goal: take a walk in nature, soak in a warm bath, cook your favourite dinner or indulge in a massage.
10. Build new connections and relationships
Building new relationships and connections is key to our wellbeing. Take the time to get to know the students, parents and staff members in your school community.
Get started: Consider ways to develop student-focused relationships. See Wellbeing Fives for some practical ways to do this.
Professor Kinman, Gail. “Teacher wellbeing: how to mentally prepare for a new school year”. The Guardian. 20th August 2014
- Staying healthy in winter months+
Cold weather can make some health problems worse and even lead to serious complications. We are sharing NHS advice on staying warm and healthy this winter.
Who’s most at risk from cold weather?
Some people are more vulnerable to the effects of cold weather. This includes:
- people aged 65 and older
- babies and children under the age of 5
- people on a low income (so cannot afford heating)
- people who have a long-term health condition
- people with a disability
- pregnant women
- people who have a mental health condition
Get advice if you feel unwell
If you are 65 or over, or in one of the other at-risk groups, it’s important to get medical help as soon as you feel unwell.
You can get help and advice from:
- a pharmacy – pharmacists can give treatment advice for a range of minor illnesses and can tell you if you need to see a doctor
- your GP – you may be able to speak to a GP online or over the phone, or go in for an appointment if they think you need to
- NHS 111 – go to 111.nhs.uk or call 111 if you have an urgent medical problem and you’re not sure what to do
The sooner you get advice, the sooner you are likely to get better.
Call a pharmacy or contact them online before going in person.
You can get medicines delivered or ask someone to collect them.
Get a flu vaccine
Flu will often get better on its own, but it can make some people seriously ill. It’s important to get the flu vaccine if you’re advised to.
The flu vaccine is a safe and effective vaccine. It’s offered every year on the NHS to help protect people at risk of flu and its complications.
The best time to have the flu vaccine is in the autumn before flu starts spreading. But you can get the vaccine later.
Find out more about the:
Keep your home warm
Follow these tips to keep you and your family warm and well at home:
- if you’re not very mobile, are 65 or over, or have a health condition, such as heart or lung disease, heat your home to at least 18C
- keep your bedroom at 18C all night if you can – and keep bedroom window closed
- if you’re under 65, healthy and active, you can safely have your home cooler than 18C, as long as you’re comfortable
- use a hot water bottle or electric blanket to keep warm in bed – but do not use both at the same time
- have at least 1 hot meal a day – eating regularly helps keep you warm
- have hot drinks regularly
- to reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), babies should sleep in rooms heated to between 16C and 20C
- draw curtains at dusk and keep doors closed to block out draughts
- get your heating system checked regularly by a qualified professional
Help with heating costs
For more information on how to reduce your bills and make your home more energy efficient, go to the government’s Simple Energy Advice website, or call the Simple Energy Advice helpline on 0800 444 202.
You can also find out about heating and housing benefits on GOV.UK.
It’s worth claiming all the benefits you’re entitled to as soon as winter begins.
Look in on vulnerable neighbours and relatives
Check on older neighbours and relatives, and those with heart or breathing (respiratory) problems, to make sure they:
- are safe and well
- are warm enough, especially at night
- have stocks of food and medicines so they do not need to go out during very cold weather
If you’re concerned the person may have hypothermia, contact NHS 111.
- Teaching Assistant - key qualities+
Highlight on the role – Teaching Assistant
Is it your dream to become a teaching assistant?
Teaching assistants are an important part of schools and education and are crucial to help support teachers. A teaching assistant can work in a primary school or secondary school and often work with small groups of children or students to develop their learning.
This week, we are highlighting the key qualities of a good teaching assistant.
Building strong relationships
When working as a teaching assistant, you will not only have to build good relationships with your pupils, but staff and parents as well. Support staff have as much interaction with parents and pupils as teachers do, so it is vital that you build up a strong rapport.
It is important for you to get to know your students, in order for them to relate and trust you in the classroom. Parents also need to feel confident that you can meet their child’s educational needs.
Know how children develop and learn
Whether you would like to become a teaching assistant for early years or secondary school students, you will need to know how your pupils learn and develop. It is vital for you to have a clear and thorough understanding of educational, learning and development theories.
You should also have the ability to know when your students need extra support so you can work alongside the teacher to identify additional interventions that could be beneficial.
Flexible and adaptable
As well as being flexible in the sense that you are able to offer a different approach to each child, you will also need to adapt to the flow of a teacher’s lesson. Whilst the best-laid plans of a lesson can go right, they can sometimes go awry. As such, a great teaching assistant will be able to adapt to how the teacher provides the lesson. One minute you will be attending to a child individually, the next you will be working in a group. So being able to adapt is really important.
Solid literacy and numeracy skills
Of course, as a teaching assistant, it is pivotal that you share the knowledge of reading, writing and arithmetic to younger generations. However, the ability to know it and to explain it are two different things. That is why, in addition, to knowing, you need to have the communication skills to explain it. That is what makes the best teaching assistant.
Ability to work in a team
Our school operates as a big team, so it is important for you to work together with your colleagues. The teacher and assistants form a vital team within the classroom. For a lesson to run smoothly you will all have to work well together.
Have passion and energy
You should have a passion for working with children and developing their learning. Daily responsibilities can vary day to day. Some of these include assisting with delivery of lessons, engaging students who are struggling with motivation, supporting their mental health and wellbeing, sensory needs or maintain the optimal environment in class.
Dealing with different types of people every day, a teaching assistant will need to be a good communicator. Being a ‘connection to knowledge’ for students will mean explaining information clearly in a way that your pupils will understand.
- National Teaching Assistants' Day+
National Teaching Assistants’ Day
On Thursday we celebrated National Teaching Assistants’ Day where we acknowledge the significant contribution our Teaching Assistants make to the support and education of our students. We couldn’t do it without you! Thank you!