‘Giving us chocolates won’t sort out our “wellbeing” – teachers need to be trusted and to have their workload reduced ‘

Teachers don’t need to be told to go home early or to go to yoga – to improve wellbeing they need two things: time to do the job they love and trust that they are doing it right, writes one primary teacher in Tes

The standing staffroom joke for this academic year? #Wellbeing. 

We have begun to end every sentence to do with anything other than work with this little phrase: “I’m going to the pub tonight, #wellbeing!”, “Not going to do any work tonight, #wellbeing!”, “My husband bought me flowers, #wellbeing!” 

Some examples I’ve heard recently are yoga classes after school, directed time being used for going out for coffee as a team with colleagues and leaders putting chocolates in the staff room. While all these initiatives are nice, that is all they are.

No teacher I speak to is there because they are forced to be – and, to be quite honest – the hours spent at home doing additional work are often optional anyway. What really drives the stress and extra workload are systems that are in place to prove that we are doing our jobs.

So what is the solution? Time. Give us time to do the job we love, time to make more exciting lessons, share resources, plan collaboratively, read the research that costs millions, encourage our colleagues. Stop giving us chocolate and saying well done when I’ve gone for a walk. Trust us to be professionals and strip back school systems to a point where everyone is able to do their job in a way that works for them.

Here are how I feel schools can really begin to tackle this issue:

1. Flexible working

There has been a lot of discussion recently about how schools are incredibly rigid in the time expected from employees and how far behind they are compared to other professions with regards to flexible working. Leaders can do so much for wellbeing if they allow staff to take a more flexible approach to working hours.

2. ‘Catch them being good’

Did a member of your team make a child’s day? Tell them. Take two minutes to pop into someone’s classroom and tell them their class are clearly settled and happy this year or send a quick email praising the subject development plan they’ve spent hours creating.

Read 5 more suggestions of ways schools can help ‘Giving us chocolates won’t sort out our “wellbeing” – teachers need to be trusted and to have their workload reduced ‘

Do you find any of these suggestions interesting? Any to add of your own? Please tell us your thoughts in comments or via Twitter ~ Tamsin

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