Here we go again.
Just when you were starting to find your rhythm of online learning. You became a zoom master. You and google classroom were at one with each other. Potentially you had even started to entertain that this new arrangement of teaching from home could be the future of education. No behaviour management, small class numbers when you were on campus, no tedious staff room chatter. Plus the occasional sleep in, access to your fridge, walks in the middle of the day. This imposed physical distancing had some appealing qualities. And then overnight, the arrangement we had all become accustomed too was changed dramatically. Potentially you are now feeling:
- stressed at the thought of creating a connected classroom again
- excited to be back doing what you love
- afraid for your own health and that of your students
- terrified that cases of COVID may spike and restrictions occur
- frustrated that so little is within your control
We have three tips for navigating these next conditions at sea as smoothly as you can:
1. Feel all the feelings
We say it to kids, we need to say it to ourselves as educators too. It is ok if you are massively angry at this next change. You cannot skip straight to resilience and being optimistic without being authentic about how you feel. The one seed we would plant though is this: try and assume that the people around you are doing the best they can. That includes your fellow staff members, your principal, parents and students.
2. Reflect on your experience
What was your favourite thing about teaching from home?
What is one thing you are glad to be leaving behind?
What is something you can take with you (a change in the way you do things, a habit) into face to face learning?
3. Keep teaching wellbeing, it is more important now than ever before:
Prior to the pandemic, wellbeing had been identified as a priority in both the NSW and Australian health curriculum. This sense of importance must continue as students begin their return to school. Beyond Blue states that half of all serious mental health issues begin before a child turns 15. The impact that the pandemic has had on students’ wellbeing may not be visible yet. Classrooms offer stability and an opportunity to process emotions in a safe way.
The same barriers to effectively teaching wellbeing prior to the pandemic still exist. Time, budget, overcrowded curriculum and effective pedagogy. As well as the added stress that as teachers you probably feel a greater sense of urgency to bring students up to speed, fill in potential gaps and stick therefore stick to a few core curriculum subjects. However, whole school student, staff and community wellbeing must continue if we are to all come out of this stronger, wiser and more resilient.
Grow Your Mind - a solution for busy schools
We dedicated a large part of lockdown to creating FREE multi-media resources for teachers to build key resilience skills in their students. All written by an accredited primary school teacher and all content linked to health curriculums worldwide:
- A children's mental health and wellbeing podcast with free colouring-in sheets (a specific episode on hope and resilience during COVID-19)
- A Guess Who character strengths video series spotlighting people who have struggled, experienced setbacks, uncertainty and bounced back
5 of the 10 Guess Who stories we share:
These are effective, easy to use and engaging teaching tools. Perspective is something we only learn with experience and time. How do you teach today's students that people have been through uncertainty before and have risen and grown from the challenges? We have spent an extensive amount of time researching current-day figures and people throughout history to offer insight for children on the ways to be resilient. Our bite-size videos use visuals and storytelling to captivate students across the globe
" When I watch the Guess Who videos and hear that others have been through big changes and sometimes really sad and scary things and they keep on going and giving their all to life, it makes me think that it will be ok in the end" Matilda, age 10
"The podcast makes me laugh, the kids on it also remind me that this too shall pass, just like one of the episodes says" James age 12
We also have a comprehensive digital in-class subscription solution for busy teachers to invest in which includes:
- emotional check-in tools
- a designated teacher wellbeing page
- a way to embed wellbeing messages into every area of the curriculum
- bite-size video lessons for all stages
- scope and sequence project ideas
- resources that can be used to teach wellbeing both implicitly and explicitly
- student reflection journals for each stage
- self-paced workbooks for each stage
- educational digital posters
- wellbeing guidebooks
- PLUS we regularly add new content
Take a sneak peek inside a teacher subscription here