Back to School Reflections

We hope that you have all had a good start back at school! Returning for a new year, or starting in your first job, whether it be as a teacher, TA, MTA, administrator or other support staff can be daunting. There are new children to get to know, firstly their names, then their needs, backgrounds, personalities, lives at home, and all they bring with them into school. Then there are new topics to familiarise yourself with, lessons to plan, paperwork to complete, training to finish, and policies to read. There are new colleagues to get to know, and old ones to catch up with – How was your summer? Feels like a long time ago now!

Working in a school really is like no other job. It is relentless and exhausting, invigorating and inspiring. You will laugh (and probably cry) and be exasperated and motivated more than in any other job. Working with children and young people is one of the most important, influential and profound experiences, and you will never forget the people you meet, the things you learn, and the impact you have.

Everyone who works in school wants the best for children and young people. This could be a cook in the kitchen, providing nutritious and tasty meals. A teacher running an after-school club, giving children the opportunity to try new sports and activities that they may not otherwise experience. A TA who supports those needing time out during the day or spends lunchtime in the library listening to children who have something to say. An administrator in the office who tends to all the cuts and grazes, bastion of the first aid box. We must not forget the staff and their needs and wellbeing. In my experience, school workers will always prioritise others’ wellbeing over their own. Always pushing on, always showing up, and not wanting to let children, colleagues, or parents down. It is therefore essential that schools promote and support staff wellbeing, as they are undoubtedly the best, and most financially significant, resource which schools have.

So, as you return to school and settle into the rhythm of school life, start the new term remembering these key points to look after the wellbeing of yourself and your colleagues:

  1. Connect with other people – good relationships and connecting with others are important to build a sense of belonging and self-worth, and give a opportunity to share positive experiences.
  2. Learn new skills – learning new skills and doing new things can improve your mental wellbeing by boosting self-confidence and helping to build a sense of purpose.
  3. Be active – being active is beneficial for physical and mental wellbeing and can be a good outlet to expend emotions.
  4. Notice – paying more attention to the present moment can improve your mental wellbeing. This includes noticing your thoughts and feelings, your body, and the world around you. Some people call this awareness “mindfulness”.
  5. Give to others – acts of giving and kindness can help to improve mental wellbeing by creating positive feelings, a sense of reward and self-worth.

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