'Wellbeing' is a word that has been bandied around for a while with regard to teaching as a profession. It generally stems from the issues that come from teaching being a stressful job. I imagine it has always been so: taking 30 young minds and guiding them (sometimes unwillingly) towards educational enlightenment is stressful. However, when you add the current climate in teaching in our country, “stressful” isn't a strong enough word.
I tweet and blog a lot about my network and how being an outward-facing leader who is connected to a wider educational community fuels me. It the last few years through Twitter, StaffRm, #womened and now #bameed, through #teachmeets, #leadmeets and #researched I have met a plethora of fantastic educational contacts who have inspired me, empowered me and connected me. Through these connections I have ended up meeting brilliant educators and collaborating on some fantastic projects. These collaborations have reignited my passion for my profession.
We all feel anxious sometimes. Maybe it is going into a new situation such as starting a new job, or having to have a difficult conversation. The feeling of nervousness and anxiousness is completely normal, and an evolutionary necessity. However, for some people, like me, that feeling of anxiousness never goes away. You live with it day in, day out, and it can have quite a detrimental effect on your life and mental health.
Get Set to Eat Fresh, the healthy eating education programme for 5-14 year-olds from Team GB and Aldi, is supporting schools during Celebration of Food Week (June 12th - 16th) with new resources and special prizes. Next week will see pupils showing their love for fresh, healthy food with a range of cross-curricular learning opportunities.
I've always had the privilege of working in schools where a network of teachers look out for one another and support each other's wellbeing in numerous ways. Even at moments when it seemed that the leaders didn't have wellbeing at the top of their list, the relationships between members of staff kept us all afloat in the more testing times. Although I think I have the ultimate responsibility for my own wellbeing (after all, I'm the one who knows my own triggers, warning signs and limits) I have also recognised the value of these relationships where teacher wellbeing is concerned.
Every member of a school community matters. The physical, mental and emotional wellbeing of young children and adolescents are of paramount importance, but it is also vital that there is an ongoing focus on the welfare of all the adults making up the school community. So which values are needed for everyone in a school community to flourish and feel they are on a meaningful, fulfilling life journey?
Encouraging children to be active and play outdoors is becoming increasingly difficult as they opt to spend time indoors on a variety of technological devices. The lack of outdoor activity has contributed to the increased obesity amongst children. According to figures from the NHS, around 10% of children are obese in their first year of school. We at Hand Made Places specialise in designing, manufacturing and installing high quality timber playgrounds to encourage outdoor learning and play at schools, and here we explain why we do what we do.
In my work I get to hear children discuss subjects like gender identity, vegetarianism, doping in sport and free speech. On the one hand, controversial topics like these can stir up, provoke, and engage. On the other hand, they can trigger a defensiveness in students that stifles thoughtful inquiry. Is there a way to keep the benefits without the downsides? Is there a way to support honest inquiry where children can reevaluate their ideas and avoid intellectual stasis?
I started at Dame Elizabeth Cadbury in 2010, in a brand new post as assistant headteacher, and immediately loved it. It’s a happy, vibrant school of, at the time, just over 600 pupils (we’ve since grown!), so has a real family feel. You get to know all the pupils by name, and they all get to know you. It was September and the sun was shining: the new academic year rolled ahead with all its possibility and hope. Crisp new books were opened, dates were written on boards, titles underlined. The children were happy, funny, eager to learn. Everything seemed great. There were the usual issues that crop up when you’re ‘getting your feet under the table’ in a new school, especially as a new senior leader, but all was grand.