It is almost November. Some of us are finishing our half term break, some of us about to begin it and the lucky ones have a further week to recharge their batteries. We hope you have had a chance to read and share our recent blog about stress reduction https://healthyteachertoolkit.wordpress.com/2016/10/19/can-you-reduce-your-own-stress-levels/
We know that some of you will have sought out some means of relaxation, but equally there will have been colleagues who spent the break catching up, getting ahead or simply facing such a burden that work was unavoidable. This is why we are launching our hashtag for the coming month #NurtureNovember.
November can be the first really tough month of the school year. It is a time when sickness and absence rates can be higher than other months (February is another) as immunity wears down and we start picking up the bugs and sniffles from the children. The hour goes back this weekend and we will be coming home in the dark as well as arriving at school in the twilight. Seasonal Affective Disorder, though not fully understood, is a real issue for some people. If you are in primary, Christmas starts now! Or perhaps it began in September: Nativities, carol services, Christmas parties, added to keeping the curriculum ticking over and keeping up with deadlines can lead to frayed nerves and grumbling tempers.
#NurtureNovember is all about positivity, looking out for ourselves, but especially looking out for our colleagues. We will be tweeting regular content throughout the month, but here are a few things that you can be doing to promote the health and wellbeing of your teachers, teaching assistants and other colleagues, and hopefully your students too.
- How many conversations begin ‘Can you…’, ‘Will you…’ or ‘I want…’ instead of ‘Good Morning’ or ‘How are you?’. Words are the simplest and most powerful weapon we have. Make them count.
- Set up a Staff Shout Out board. We might not always remember to say how great a class did in assembly or how wonderful that display is looking, but here is a chance to say it, and to make it public. It can be anonymous too, for those a little shy of expressing yourself publicly. Acknowledgement is a powerful boost to confidence.
- When you reflect on your own day, list five successes. However insignificant they may be to others, it was a success for you.
- If you are a leader, find a success for everyone, everyday and thank them. Not in a sanctimonious way, but genuinely. Watch the recipient smile!
- Think about your leaders too. Leadership can be a thankless task; everyone can do with a leg up.
- Share a positive or inspirational quote. Not for the sake of it though. Live it, breathe it and make it part of your everyday fabric. We will be posting a few of these and look forward to seeing yours on Twitter and Facebook too. School Leaders: put them in your staff newsletters and on your noticeboards.
- Recognise when someone is in need of a boost. Leaders need to be aware of this, but everyone else should too. Are they not their normal smiley self? Do they show that they might be in need of some support. Proactive measures can head off more challenging difficulties.
- Smile! A lovely smile lights up a room, calms people down and sets the positive tone. Even better, it costs nothing and it is an investment with infinite returns.
- Share some ‘mindfulness’ colouring activities. It is a calming way for children to start the day, especially if you have a ‘soft start’. Anything that is good for the children can only benefit adults too.
- Comfort food makes us all feel better. We don’t want to overdo it of course, thinking about our waistlines, but some simple things are a source of pleasure. In September we launched Team Salad https://healthyteachertoolkit.wordpress.com/2016/09/10/team-salad-building-teamwork-wellbeing-and-healthy-eating-habits/ but now the weather is closing in we are also added baked potatoes to this Friday mix. A bag of 10 for £2, brought on a rota, and placed in the oven at morning break provides a comforting, warming gow to Friday lunchtime.
Please join in this month, and share your positive actions.
Finally, a few simple words that in the maelstrom of modern schooling we may forget.
- Good Morning.
- Thank you.
- Have a good evening/weekend.
- The name of the person you are addressing.
It is #NurtureNovember; enjoy, share, tweet, promote and live positively.