On Thursday night I presented at the Specialist School and Academies Trust (#SSATNC14) Teachmeet. The theme of my 5 minute presentation was on the issue of staff well-being. This was a mini version of the presentation Mark Healy (@) was due to present at David Fawcett (@) and Jen Lud’s (@MissJLud) TLT14, which myself and Tania Harding (@) delivered on his behalf.
It is an idea I have returned to this half term (at our TLT14 tea party last week) which links to my theory that a happy staff equals happy students.
Simple but who knows!
I often wonder if the job of leadership is to look after the staff. The teachers you have in the building. The ones who look after your students. It appears as though the recruitment crisis will (is) start(ing) to bite sooner rather than later. If we continue to treat our staff with disrespect in a complex and rapidly changing system will we have enough to keep the system going? Experienced colleagues I know are leaving the profession after 10, 20 and 30 years plus. Newly qualified staff retention continues to be a concern.
As an off shoot of the first #TMconnectED colleagues at my school have worked on the John Muir award (http://www.jmt.org/jmaward-home.asp) this half term to support our key Year 11 students as they prepare for their maths and English exams. Coincidentally the themes which appear in the award also appear in the New Economics Foundation (NEF) Centre for Wellbeing- 5 Steps to Wellbeing (Http://issuu.com/neweconomicsfoundation/docs/five_ways_to_well-being) which provides a framework for staff and students to develop their well-being.
I think Mr Muir was ahead of his time!
Mark Healy presents his view of mental health rooted in research. His arguments appear to me to have a resonance in the workplace at the moment. He suggests that positive well-being of students and staff are the different sides of the same coin (http://audioboom.com/boos/2575736-teacher-well-being-stress) heavily influenced by the work of Sue Roffey.
How much energy and effort do we put into looking after our students compared to the efforts we put into looking after ourselves?
Some headteachers have commented on this subject recently. John Tomsett (@) (http://www.theguardian.com/teacher-network/teacher-blog/2013/jul/01/school-staff-wellbeing-headteacher-leaders) and Stephen Tierney (@) (http://leadinglearner.me/2013/10/23/5minwellbeingplan-by-leadinglearner-and-teachertoolkit/) have expressed their thoughts in the National Press and on their blogs.
At the centre of the discussion are the core values of your school ……….
What would your students say they are?
What would your staff say they are?
What do you think they are?
I think in the best organisations core values are clear to spot and easy to define. Not written in a policy or in a glossy brochure but on the faces of the people who go to the buildings and spend their time together.
So to address the imbalance of teacher well-being and our predisposition to put everyone else first I challenge anyone willing to listen to make a change. For the month of January is the month of resolution (sorry Stephen). If the collective minds in the profession can suggest that grading a 20 minute lessons is the work of fools, then surely we can do something about looking after ourselves a bit more.
If we are happier will our students be happier?
Special emotional well-being super heroes have been recruited. Ready to share what they are going to do in January to model best practice. Their challenges will be chosen and completed under the banners of …..
The #teacher5aday hashtag has been launched. To collect everyone’s contributions. Hopefully you will be inspired to join in.
If not I will wish you a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year and see you on the other side of January.