Our teachers mental health and well-being is incredibly important. The prospect of teaching face to face again, or with larger numbers of pupils returning to the classroom after what has been such a difficult time, is key to kicking the new academic year off to a great start. It is a good time to remember that everyones journey through the Covid pandemic will have been different; some losing loved ones in tragic circumstances, some sheilding to protect loved ones, families facing financial crisis, whilst others are carrying on as usual without experiencing any of the aforementioned. This will give the return to normality a different feel for all of us. Respecting other peoples wishes during the early days and weeks of returning to school will be an important aspect of keeping harmony in our departments, corridors and classrooms. Below are a few useful items, but please share with us your thoughts and ideas to help others navigate the waters ahead.
Michael Mosley’s ‘How To Protect Yourself And Others’ article is a really useful read.
The Governments Return To School Guidance.
Free Apps to help you with relaxation and well-being: Calm, Big White Wall to help with stress and anxiety, Catch It helps you to look at thoughts in a more positive way, Chill Panda encourages breathing techniques to bring on calm and relaxation, Cove is a music app creating music for moods. We hope that you will find these useful not just during the pandemic but throughout the school year.
Back to School
Mental health after lockdown and tips on how to cope with returning to school:
Easing yourself in gently and building up a tolerance to normal life again will help. You could try doing something small every day that helps you to get back into the swing of things.
Fear and Anxiety
Many things that are out of our control cause fear and anxiety, so why not plan and manage the things you can control. Write an action plan for the things you find difficult, this might help.
Variety is the Spice of Life
Varying your activities from day to day and varying the time that you carry out an activity will help you to get back into the normal hustle and bustle of everyday life.
Going at your own pace and easing yourself back into life after lockdown is really key, do not let yourself be bullied or pressured into doing anything that you feel uncomfortable doing.
Chat to Work
Take time to have a conversation with your employer. It will really help to ease your anxiety if you call and speak to your department manager or HR department. Discuss the ways that you can take care of yourself in the workplace, talk about the initiatives your employer has put in place for all staff and students to help them stay safe at school. Knowing the environment that you will be returning to will definitely help you to plan and ease your own anxiety.
The coming months and the year ahead will change as we go, knowing how to deal with uncertainty will help you get through what will be an unusual time ahead. Focusing on the present is a good way to feel stable, whilst keeping an eye on the things that are certain will help you to remain calm and hopeful, talk to people you trust and chat about the things you are worried about. Keeping things in perspective will keep your mind on track.
We have found that most schools are carrying out a back to work interview or survey. This will give you an opportunity to express your special areas of concern and work with your employer to find a mutually agreeable solution. Use your HR department if you have specific health issues that give you extra concern. It is important that you feel confident and safe when you return to the classroom.
The following suggestions have come in from our teaching friends:
Having the same classroom all day rather than moving from one classroom to another.
Not sharing your own physical resources, ensuring each child has their own equipment (where possible). Rather than lending a book, take a photocopy.
Requesting extra cleaning on desks and in shared areas like toilets and corridors.
Having your own supply of PPE and sanitising fluids will also make you feel more in control.
Taking your own packed lunch rather than eating in the canteen.
General hygiene in your own departments – sharing this duty of care with your colleagues.