A scan over a google search on teacher wellbeing is not pleasant reading. Article after article tells of teachers facing an excessive workload, daily chronic anxiety and stress. A recent Guardian article cited, '1 in 5 (teachers) felt tense about their job most or all of the time.'www.theguardian.com/education/2019/feb/25/teachers-experience-more-stress-than-other-workers-study-shows
Now, this is not new news. I do feel since I began teaching a dizzy 19 years ago that teaching has become for more stressful. Why? Well, for one, the constant surveillance and level of scrutiny is far beyond anything I used to encounter in 2002. I used to have one full observation in term two and then another half an hour observation later in the year. And are my results any different now due to countless learning walks, drop ins, book trawls, mocksteds, deep dives or any other form of the word observation that we can conjure? No. And this isn't a reflection on my place of work. From what I can see, this happens in many schools.
For two, the lack of trust in teachers to do their professional duty is staggering. Check the checkers doing the checking doing the checking is bureaucracy gone mad. Add the horrendous lack of funding in education, no wonder google searches do not dig up diamonds.
What are we going to do about it?
For me, teacher wellbeing is paramount. If we do not have healthy, happy, energised teachers, we have a system being driven on empty. Yesterday, I asked WHY do we teach. Today I ask, if we DO want to teach, how can we reignite the spark that has been dampened or is dwindling out?
It starts with YOU: Track Your Time
How can we improve our wellbeing when there is always so much to do, to say, to write, to read, to track and to change? To begin with we NEED to know how we use our time or how we feel obligated or expected to use our time by others. It is easy to do. On a spreadsheet or in your diary or notebook, write the times of the day down the left hand side and make brief notes on what you are doing in 30 minute chunks. You can always do it retrospectively if you forget or scribble it down on a post-it and add it later. The aim isn't to be perfect but just to see what is.
I would love to see how you track our time and what you find. Please respond to this blog or e-mail me at email@example.com
PS: I will not track your tracking :) I trust you