Our New Normal
It is the start of a new school year and things are a little different to normal. Not only are we in the midst of a pandemic where we have had to change the way we teach, we now have to adapt that new way of teaching for a group of children whose education has been disrupted over the last 6 months. On Twitter, I’ve seen that this has taken a toll on the morale of many teachers; each day we feel as though we aren’t doing enough.
So many brilliant teachers are going home thinking they haven’t done their best; that the lessons they’ve taught haven’t enabled the usual learning; they feel deflated and exhausted and less motivated than they’ve ever felt before. I’ve gone home some days feeling the same. The hardest thing is that we don’t know how long this is going to go on for – when will we be teaching the way we’ve always known and loved?
I can’t answer that question for you, but this is your pep talk: things will get better. Right now, we are teaching within a period of time people will one day learn about in their history lessons! I bet none of us expected that when we woke up at the start of this year. Teaching is always a challenge and because of that we are flexible, adaptable and extremely resilient people. Yes, we will find this hard but you know what? We can do this. Not only are we going to overcome it ourselves, we’re helping all those tiny people overcome it too.
But for those days when it’s hard to remember this, I have 3 pieces of advice. Tips, for how you might help yourself – and others – feel better. They’re only small, but they can go a long way!
1. Offer a smile, compliment or small gesture to a colleague
This can make the world of difference to someone’s day. Only yesterday I was told by a colleague how well I dealt with a situation and that 30 second conversation helped to turn my whole day around. We need to be kind and boost each other.
2. Give yourself time to totally switch off and do something you love
If you aren’t kind to yourself, how can you be kind to others too? As one of my favourite sayings goes, ‘being kind to yourself only when you deserve it is like watering the plants only when it rains’. You need to make time to look after your wellbeing before you get burnt out.
3. Remember it is not just you feeling this way
You might see everyone being positive around you, or floating round the school being calm and serene. It’s so easy to look that way, but most of us are like ducks furiously paddling under the surface as we seemingly float down the corridors! Don’t set your standard by what you see of others; remember, it’s the same as social media: we usually edit out the parts we aren’t so keen on showing.
You are doing the BEST you can do.