In this interview, I talk with Laura Oliver, a Primary school teacher and middle leader, who’s currently teaching year 5. Laura tweets at @insightsinlearn and has her own blog at www.insightsinlearning.com.
Laura talks about the physical and mental demands of the job, how important it is to find a healthy balance and how to give yourself permission to look after yourself.
Listen to the full interview here:
Laura’s top tips:
Give yourself permission to look after yourself
“You’re not going to be the best teacher you can be if you’re not looking after yourself mentally and physically. It’s easy to think, “I need to do this for the students,” but looking after yourself is looking after your students. Make yourself the priority and everything else will fall into place.”
Take time off when you’re ill
“I’ve noticed that people are unwilling to take time off for sickness when they are genuinely poorly and need that time. Or they’re rushing back to work before they’re ready because they’re worried about who’s got the class, if everything is covered and if they’re doing the right thing. This has been an issue in all the schools I’ve worked in – if people had the right time off they’d get better a lot quicker.”
Chill out when you can
“I try to find time when it’s possible to get off my feet. At lunchtime, I force myself to take at least five minutes so that I’m ready for the afternoon.”
Switch off at home
“You’ll always have a to-do list that’s miles long. I’ve really been trying to think about what’s vital and what’s not and I give myself permission to stop working and shut the laptop and enjoy time with my family.”
Know when you’ll be effective
“I really have to think about how effective I’ll be. Sometimes (if you’re tired) you can sit there and it’ll take ten times longer to tackle that job. You’re better coming back to it later or in the morning.”
Make time for exercise
“I decided to join a gym. I couldn’t fit it in the evenings so I do it in the morning – getting up an hour earlier. It puts me in a better mood for the day because I know I’ve done some exercise and means I don’t have to worry about fitting it in later.”
“This makes me more productive in the day… I feel much better, I feel ready for the day, I’m ready for sleep in the evening and fall asleep quicker.”
“When I’ve been to the gym I also want to eat more healthily because I don’t want to undo that hard work.”
Limit my time on screens
“I find I spend a lot of the day working with screens, either a laptop or an iPad, so I have a cut-off point at about 9pm where I turn my phone off.”
Listen to music
“I find music helps me to de-stress and unwind. the first I do when I get home is put music on, and that lets me know I’m home and it’s time to relax.”
Could these apply to you to make you happier and healthier?
Get involved in The Healthy Teacher Project:
What do you do to stay healthy?
What is stopping you stay healthy?
I’d like to talk to you – drop me an e-mail, Luke@LukeRichardson.co.uk.