A guest post from Chris of EdRests.
The post focuses on where the idea for EdRests came from and my hopes for how the platform could help people working in Education.
There are many reasons that led to the creation of EdRests, below are just some of them.
As a full-time head of department working in Cambridgeshire I have been in Education for 7 years and counting. Personally, I have found that the academic breaks can, at times, feel isolating, particularly when you do not have family around or many friends in Education. With everyone else around me at work, during the day I often used to fill this time with catching up on work or trying to get ahead for the new term. At the time, I thought it was a productive use of the holidays, but it meant some academic terms were incredibly tough as I had not prioritised my own downtime to recharge. I therefore wanted to kickstart a platform which encourages those of us in Education to prioritise our own wellbeing by having opportunities to do the things we love and enjoy with likeminded others.
Another reason is the financial pressures of the school holidays. My own experience is that organising trips with friends who work outside of Education during school holidays can be tricky due to the inflated prices. Colleagues with families have also mentioned how they struggle to cope with finances during the breaks, especially if they are on a single income.
Lots of people may have colleagues in their schools that they would consider close friends and already spend time doing hobbies/interests together, but this can be harder for new staff, or staff lacking confidence to network and build relationships with fellow colleagues.
Teacher retention levels remain at a critically low level, so I wanted to try to do my bit to help. Teaching, like any profession, can be a rollercoaster of emotions and challenges. While I believe it is the best profession in the world, I also believe that high-quality support needs to be available for when difficulties arise (be this inside or outside of the classroom), or when you just need to recharge your batteries to continue giving your best for your students.
EdRests therefore aims to provide a platform for educators in similar circumstances to not have to face challenges on their own. As well as the chance to network, build friendships, develop support groups and ultimately to help us to spend our downtime doing what we love.
How does EdRests work?
EdRests Events allows educators who enjoy similar activities or interests to connect with each other in whichever way feels best for them.
I am going to see Newcastle United play at Wembley (wishful thinking…) next week and I would like to find other EdRests users who support Newcastle United that are going to watch the match too. So, I set up a discussion on the EdRests Events page asking if anyone else is going and would like to meet before the game for some food/drink. Responders can then organise the finer details privately (e.g. through e-mail or a social network such as Twitter).
This can be done for any hobby, interest or activity and can be posted specifically to the county you live in and/or the wider EdRests community. There is also the option to receive alerts for discussions you are interested in so you can keep up to date with what is happening (this can be turned on/off on your member profile settings).
The website is still in its infancy and my knowledge of building websites “requires improvement”, so I welcome any feedback on how the site can be improved further.
The success and effectiveness of the website will ultimately be down to all those working in Education spreading the word about the platform. Even if you feel the platform is not for you, please still share it as it might help your fellow colleagues.
Thank you for taking the time to read the first blog. I hope EdRests can help as many people as possible to spend their time doing what they love while feeling supported to continue giving their best to Education.
EdRests Founder and Creator. edrests.co.uk