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A school staff wellbeing policy is vitally important in any school, especially now, with teacher wellbeing being a huge issue in our schools today. You only need to look around our staffrooms, in the press or on social media to see how many teachers are suffering from stress and anxiety.
The Education Support Partnership reports, in the Teacher Wellbeing Index 2018, that “67% of education professionals describe themselves as stressed (80% of senior leaders)”
Given statistics like that it is no surprise that the same report states that “57%....of all education professionals have considered leaving the sector over the past two years as a result of health pressures.”
It is vital that teacher wellbeing is a priority and a robust school staff wellbeing policy is both necessary and desirable.
School staff wellbeing policy
Many schools are forming school staff wellbeing policies, to help improve the situation in schools. However, this is only a good thing if it is set up with a genuine desire to improve staff wellbeing in schools, and not just to tick a box!
Initiatives to make teachers feel better, such as motivational posters, and mugs filled with treats are all very well, but they don't solve the real problems! Any decent wellbeing policy also has to address workload, with 72% of professionals citing that as their main reason for wanting to leave the profession.
Hopefully, the powers that be will recognise the huge issue caused by workload and take steps to seriously reduce this before we lose many more good teachers from the profession.
However, teachers today are not stressed and anxious only because of school. They are also stressed and anxious because their whole lives are run at 100mph!
It’s not just going into school and having to deal with the huge workload and expectation that is put on teachers today. It’s not just having to deal with unruly children, pushy parents and increasing pressure to perform.
Teaching became more challenging, for me, when I became a mum. And I suspect that it's the same for the huge percentage of teachers who are also dealing with family commitments.
It’s about our whole lives
And trying to juggle ALL our commitments.
It’s about getting up in the morning, already feeling anxious, because we know that our to do list is massive.
Then it's getting the children up, dressed, fed and off to nursery or school or it's putting the washing on, feeding the cat and cleaning the toilet!
It’s feeling stressed on the commute to work, because our already frazzled nerves are struggling to cope with even the smallest delay.
It’s getting into school feeling like we’ve already done a day’s work.
Feeling stressed because yesterday's to do list didn’t get finished and we know that more will get added to it today.
It’s dealing with children who are coming to school far less prepared than they used to be and dealing with expectation from parents, who all want the best for their child, but rarely remember that we’ve got a whole class to consider.
Then lunchtime duty, after-school clubs, marking, assessment, testing, reporting, meetings, CPD..... the list just goes on, and on, and on!
And that's not all
It’s rushing home from school to do mum duties. Homework. Clubs. Tea. Bed.
It’s the guilt of knowing that our mind is often absent, thinking of the to-do list, rather than really listening to our child.
Guilt that we spend more quality time with other people’s children than with our own. Guilt that we might not be the parent we could be. And guilt that we know we are not the teacher we used to be.
And then there is the money
We might just be able to put up with all of this, if we felt well off, but so many of us are struggling with money as well
We feel we should be able to treat ourselves to nice holidays, nights out, new clothes and experiences for the children. However, the reality is that many teachers are living pay day to pay day and are feeling financially vulnerable.
It's for all of these reasons that I feel teacher wellbeing has to be tackled from a holistic point of view.
No school staff wellbeing policy can possible tackle everything, but I think we need to deal with ALL these issues, so that teachers can give their best in the classroom and can be their best at home. All teachers deserve to be able to enjoy their lives, both within and out with the classroom.
I totally understand how teachers feel, because a few years ago, I was that teacher!
Stressed and fed up with juggling the demands of 3 young children, a teaching career and trying to keep up with housework, I realised that something had to give. I started my own bookkeeping business and cut down to a 0.4 contract. While it solved the stress, the guilt and work-life balance, it meant that we were considerably worse off than we had been. This led to me feeling stressed and anxious about money instead!
I set out to change this, and I have learned so much about money, about mindset and about how to use money to my advantage. I have now spent 4 years sharing what I have learned about money, with other women, through my free Facebook group, as money coach on BBC Scotland’s Clever About Cash, and through my online courses.
A solution to help with teacher wellbeing
As a working mum of 3, with 26 years of teaching experience, a life coaching qualification and a financial coaching certificate, I feel that I am ideally placed to help other teachers to improve their quality of life.
That’s why I have developed a new teacher wellbeing programme. It focuses on 3 areas: helping teachers to live a life that makes them happy, creating a better work-life balance and simple steps to financial security and happiness.
I hope that, by taking control of their life and their finances, more teachers will be happy in their jobs and will be able to enjoy teaching once again
However, for some, it might mean leaving the classroom, choosing a different profession, or starting their own business, and some basic support for this will also be included in the programme.
Regardless of whether people stay in teaching, or leave teaching, I am on a mission to help thousands of teachers to feel happy, calm and financially secure. If any of this has resonated with you, then I would love to help you too.
Why not have a look to see how I could help you?
If you would like to find out more about how I can help you then please come along and join my free Facebook group. It's a really friendly space, filled with other female teachers who want to be happier, healthier and wealthier.
Hi, I’m Eileen Adamson, teacher, money coach and co-host of BBC podcast Clever About Cash. I help female teachers to become happier, healthier and wealthier.