What teacher wellbeing should really be about

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A guest post from Eileen of Your Money Sorted.

Improving wellbeing for teachers is a MASSIVE issue, but I don’t think having hand cream in the toilets, after school yoga sessions, staff lunches or a day off to do Christmas shopping, although very welcome, are going to make a button of difference to the real problem!   

Workload is the main cause of significant stress and anxiety in the workplace. Unnecessary paperwork, ticking flipping boxes, the constantly changing curriculum, testing, budget cuts… I don’t need to go on. We all know!

We need governments, unions and management teams to take action to alleviate the workload problem in teaching.

However, we must be realistic and know that this will not be solved overnight.  Changes in policy can take years and many, many teachers do not have years to wait. 

With 67% of teachers, and 80% of senior leaders[1], stating that they are stressed in the workplace, we are almost at crisis point. 

Something needs to be done before it’s too late. 

But it’s not just about workload.

It’s about not even just about work!

It’s about juggling EVERYTHING.

For me, teaching just became so much more difficult once I had children. 

Never stopping from morning till night.  Washing, ironing, shopping, cleaning… the household chores seem endless.

Then it’s picking up the kids, homework, tea, clubs and again running around like a woman possessed, trying to keep all the plates spinning.

Sound familiar?

There is also the financial pressure with 59% of teachers worrying every month about money.  Living pay day to pay day, worrying about debt, emergencies, and saving for the future.

Is it any wonder that so many teachers are struggling? 

There’s been a 35% increase in calls to the Education Support Partnership regarding anxiety and stress in the workplace and a 42% increase in applications to their financial hardship programme.  

This is horrendous! 

Arriving at school feeling like a day’s work has already been done, worrying about the credit card bill and trying to remember what time the kids need picked up at, is never going to allow teachers to give their best in the classroom is it?

I remember these feelings well, because I was that frustrated, frazzled and harassed teacher and mum. 

I felt like a rubbish mum, spending hardly any time with my own children, and being distracted even when I was with them.

My fuse was shorter than ever before, I had feelings of anxiety when standing in front of a class, and I just longed for the end of the day, the week and the term. 

But being at home wasn’t any better!  The stress of it all was really taking its toll. On me, my health and my relationships.

I knew that something had to give, so I reduced my teaching commitment to 0.4 and started my own bookkeeping business.  This alleviated a lot of the stress and gave me a much better work/life balance, but it brought on money problems!  Suddenly we had so much less money than before, and that made me miserable too.

I began to wonder if I would ever be happy!

And I knew that I had to find a solution to that too. 

As well as continuing to teach part-time, I am now a qualified life coach and certified financial coach. I have spent so much time learning about me and what makes me happy, about mindset and goal setting, and about money and how to use it to my advantage. 

I can honestly say that it has changed me from someone whose glass was always half empty to someone who is happy and positive (most of the time!) and very excited about the future.

But it wasn’t just about school causing problems, it was life!

I think that we need to start looking at a holistic solution, helping teachers to regain control over their whole lives, so that they can at least have a chance of being happy in the classroom.

And that’s why I have packaged everything that I have learned into a programme to help other teachers.

If my story resonates with you, then you might like to hear more about the programme.  It will help you to:

  • work out what YOU want from life
  • achieve a better work-life balance
  • create a more organised home life
  • find time for YOU
  • spend more time with the people you love the most
  • use money to make life easier
  • have money to spend on the things you love
  • pay off debt and build financial security

For some this might be about preparing to leave teaching, to find a new career, or starting that business they have dreamed about.  For others it might be about finding the joy in teaching again, by creating the time and space to be able to relax and recharge outwith the classroom.

What I can guarantee is that the group will be a supportive, motivating and safe space for you, as you explore how you really want your future to look. 

I know how busy life is, so the “work” will be manageable, and will all be designed to keep you moving forward towards a happier, healthier and wealthier life.

If you would like to find out more about this programme, then you can find more information on my website.

Also feel free to pop along and join my free Facebook group.

Eileen Adamson, Your Money Sorted

[1] https://www.educationsupportpartnership.org.uk/resources/research-reports/teacher-wellbeing-index-2018