In this blog, as part of our In The Spotlight week, Nic Owen shares her passion for the development of better wellbeing practices for teachers, suggests that it is ourselves that must look prioritise our own wellbeing and considers how we can remove the barriers of fear and judgement in doing so.
Wellbeing is a big buzz word at the moment, yet if you ask anyone to define it correctly, they will struggle. I have heard many definitions ranging from "being well" which is half way there, to "It's like yoga and meditation and stuff like that". Either that, or they break into a resounding "aum" vibration complete with their thumb and index finger pressed together.
The school environment is the classic breeding ground for misconceptions surrounding wellbeing. I know. I worked in one. I was the lead for mental health and wellbeing in my last school. It wasn't an official title but I was the one shouting the most about it. My passion and keen interests firmly put me as the ideal candidate to have in place by the 2025 deadline. I have always been a wellbeing champion. It's nothing new in my world and it has been my driving force in creating a new career path for me and finally paved my way out of the teaching profession (well not completely).
As I teacher I have led many training sessions on wellbeing for staff, conducting surveys, analysing results with the SLT and creating action plans. I'm pleased to say that it never fell on deaf ears, but priorities in the SDP and the global pandemic put all suggestions of reviewing the marking policy, agendas for staff meetings, PPA and curriculum time and inputting assessment data on the back burner. All of which were causing considerable stress on staff. This frustrates me as I see staff sinking. In my opinion, wellbeing is not taken seriously enough.