Like many colleagues I have known the ups and downs of teaching. It feels like both I and the institution I work at have been on quite a journey. From a dip in exam results which led to my department being under close scrutiny, an RI grade for the college, and a significant staff turnover I began to wonder if I might be moved on and whether my days were numbered. 18 months later and the college is a more stable setting, a successful ofsted and a whole staff wellbeing day just before the end of term. I have a new role in college, a principal examiner role on the new RS spec and a book on teacher wellbeing ‘The Elephant in the staffroom’ coming out next month. I wonder what to expect in the coming year. . .
And so it is ‘expectations’ that will be the theme of Day 7 of #teacher5adayslowchat. For many teachers tomorrow (Monday 5th September) will be the start of a new academic year. It is very easy to spend the days before the return to school stressing about what might or might not happen. Stressing is the right word because stress is ‘a perceived mismatch between the demands placed upon us and our abilities to cope.’ We have to recognise that we willhave a never ending list of things to do this year. We will make the odd mistake, we will forget the odd thing. That’s ok, we’re human and aspiring to be excellent is very different from aiming at perfection. Often as much as others have expectations of us which may or may not be reasonable, our biggest burden can be the unreasonable expectations we place on ourselves.
Having set the scene- Here’s a sneak preview of the questions for day 7:
Q1: How is your mood as you look forward to the year ahead? Do you feel positive or negative about the year? Why?
Q2: What are you particularly forward to in your school/professional life this year?
Q3: What do you anticipate being the main challenges in your school professional life this year? How will you overcome them?
Q4: What expectations are there about your performance this coming year? Where do these expectations come from – ourselves or others? Are they realistic?
Q5: How can we go a little easier on ourselves in terms of the expectations and pressure we place on ourselves? Any tips?
Q6 What do you expect will be the biggest challenges in terms of your wellbeing this year?
Q7: What wellbeing strategies are you hoping to put into place to ensure you survive and flourish this year?
Finally – well being is often not about big things but about small steps. The ATL campaign asks people to consider making one change wellbeing resolution for the year using the hashtag #make1change