Victoria Hewett (Mrs Humanities) shares the story of why she set it up and how it helps others.
‘When I set up Teacher5aday Buddy Box I wasn’t exactly in the best of places – mentally or literally. I was struggling with workload, high expectations and my own refusal to accept I was struggling.’ […continued below]
…But when I took part in a snail-mail swap, it made me think how something like this could work for teachers and school staff, and that’s when Teacher5aday Buddy Box came alive. Roll forward from February 2016 and there have been more than 2000 signs ups and many friendships created.
Whilst some friendships peter out, there are those I’ve witnessed flourish. Not only have they provided friendship to one another, they’ve become a supportive element of their professional and personal lives. Meet ups have taken place across the country and connections forged that will last a life time.
I for one have found friends as a result, several of which I have had the pleasure of meeting more than once. Lorette, Laura and Carolyn are particularly noteworthy, they have become great friends and positive influences on my day-to-day life.
In particular, I’d like to mention Lorette, who is like my personal cheerleader despite the extremely challenging time she has had with cancer. She is truly amazing! The connection we have has been unimaginable and despite the difference in age, she’s one of my best friends. She knows more about me than many of my other friends do. We’ve shared stories, coffees and a passion for teaching. I even dedicated Making it as a Teacher to her. She is inspirational.
I’ve also been in the fortunate position of witnessing many friendships build and flourish. Every time I see a tagged post on Twitter, my heart flutters, it means so much to me to see the happiness brought by my little scheme to the lives of other teachers and school staff.
I thought I’d share one of those friendships with you after I saw a lovely Tweet from Georgie (@just_teachuk), after meeting her buddy, Wendy (@MissBoldEnglish) for the first time in September who despite teaching different key stages whilst being at different stages in their career have completely and utterly hit it off. The following is their story.
Georgie joined twitter last year and felt like a little voice shouting into the abyss until she stumbled across Teacher5adayBuddyBox. It reminded her of the pen pal she had when she was younger and so she signed up. Georgie admits, she was so excited she started planning the kinds of goodies she’d include before she even knew who her buddy was. Whilst Wendy signed up after being on an NQT course with @teach_psych who told her about the scheme which she said sounded amazing.
Georgie and Wendy initially communicated via email and then exchanged numbers as they found themselves speaking more and more. Wendy says they support one another despite their different experiences. Whilst Georgie says that Wendy is the friend that she never knew she needed and admits that she messages Wendy more that she does her best friend. When she’s had a bad day, Wendy is always there, when she’s had a good day, Wendy is the one she shares it with. They talk all the time.
They decided to meet up after they’d planned to meet at BrewEd Nottingham but Wendy couldn’t make it in the end. Georgie said they wanted somewhere between Nottingham and Scarborough, so she literally stuck a pin in the map and end up meeting up with Wendy in Leeds. Wendy described their first meet up “like greeting an old friend, it wasn’t awkward at all, it really like we had always known each other”.
Both love the scheme, they’re kindred spirits. Georgie has even been invited to Wendy’s wedding next year.
As the organizer of the scheme, I’ve seen friendships flitter and friendships form. Some have been the perfect match. From my point of view, it’s the shared experience of being a teacher that makes the connections between participants so powerful, we’ve all been in each other’s shoes.
I feel very privileged to be a small part in the friendships that have formed as a result of my little scheme aimed at improving the wellbeing of teachers and school staff. If you’d like to get involved or find out more about the scheme, check out the website, https://teacher5adaybuddybox.com/.