On Monday, when schools in Wales return, it’ll be 109 days (not that I’m counting) since I set foot in a classroom to teach. Mental health issues, as written about previously (The key to a healthy life is having a healthy mind), and having lockdown restrictions in place has meant a sustained period away from doing what I’ve loved doing for the past 10 years. At the start of my time off though, I honestly wasn’t sure if I’d ever get back into the classroom. I had started to explore my options: change in career path within education, leaving the profession completely, anything! It was hard. It still is some days. But now, I genuinely can’t wait to return to my classroom on Monday. Yes I have anxieties, something I never really suffered with, and they’ll grow leading up to Monday but I know I have strategies to help me now.
Below is a basic reminder to me of a few of the things I can do (amongst others) to keep my wellbeing in check (this will stay with me in my classroom) – thank you so much to @stokesynic (https://twitter.com/stokesynic?s=20) for the inspiration and yes, my list could be far, far longer!!!
Lockdown has allowed me to get my head around my situation, look at what potentially works for me and what doesn’t. It has also allowed me to spend invaluable time with my beautiful family and to work from home. It’s the latter that has had the most surprising impact.
Working from home has given me the opportunity to work without scrutiny and pressure and out of the gaze of colleagues. The feeling of being judged by others and wondering if their perceptions of you have changed is something many suffer with. Working from home has (almost) eradicated those irrational thoughts for me. I have been able to moderate my wellbeing and effectively timetable my day to suit how I felt on that particular day. This has been invaluable. It has also allowed me look more in depth at home learning strategies, blended learning and given me something different to focus on: a new challenge! I’ve never been a big reader but now I’m enjoying books too. It’s the little wins we need to hold on to.
I suppose the reason I’m writing this is to give people hope. If you’re going through dark days and can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel, I assure you there is a light. Take that step, reach out to someone. They will help you find it. There can and will be good days again.