Back to Teaching: Teacher well-being during Alert Level 1
On Monday 8 June, New Zealand moved into Alert Level One. For schools’ this means all ākonga are now allowed to return to the classroom and re-join in all school activities again.
From the outside, it will look like school as normal. However, there is also the underlying stress that Covid-19 lock down has placed on teachers and ākonga alike. Home and school life has changed for many, and as Educators we want it to be a smooth transition for our ākonga and teachers alike.
To support teachers during Alert Level 1, we've bought together some foundational well-being practices for teachers to be able to fall back on to help them support themselves, others and ākonga in the shift back to the classroom.
Our ākonga will be adjusting to a new normal, just as teachers are. With this brings different emotions and responses. At times, the most effective action a teacher can take in response to the emotional needs of ākonga, is to give space and to simply be there for them. No expectations on how they need to be. This approach helps the teacher to keep their well-being in focus as well as the students.
Allow yourself time to process what’s happened
These past two months have been a whirlwind of ups and downs. From shutting down schools, to planning and delivering remote lessons, and now back into the classroom. This is a lot to have experienced in a short space of time. Allow yourself the time to understand all that has happened during these past months.
Focus on the moment
By nature, teachers are givers and have a lot on the go. Being focused on the moment does not mean letting all other activities slide, it means paying attention to what is happening now. This mental activity can help to ease the pressure of what is coming up next or tomorrow. It helps to ease the stress one can feel when there are lots of actions to get done.
Teachers are famous for timetables, which make classwork and planning easy. For yourself, think about creating a simple daily routine for outside work hours. Simple morning and evening activities that involve something you enjoy doing with family and for yourself. Simplicity is key when it comes to routines, so one or two activities are perfect.
Connect with other teachers in your school or Kāhui Ako about how things are going for both you and them. Talking to others can lessen the load. Keeping communications open, creating a support network, and even sharing resources, will help you to feel confident in approaching people at any time.
Overall, if teachers can take care of themselves and their colleagues through support and well-being practices, then they will be able to give better attention to their work and students.