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A message for all Head Teachers & Staff in UK schools
Posted on Tuesday 13th October 2020 at 12:00 pm by Jon Kestell

Schools rarely receive the praise that they deserve and right now they need recognition more than ever. I have put together this message which I hope will lift the darkness for a short while and help you to see that you are all doing an amazing job!

Head Teachers, Deputy Head Teachers, SLT Members, Business Managers, Office Support Staff, Teachers, Teaching Assistants and everyone else who makes the heart of your school tick you all deserve a medal!

Having worked with schools for 10 years supporting staff wellbeing through training & consultancy it hurts to see so many staff struggling with self-doubt and confidence right now. My inbox and social media is full of the same stories of despair and self-criticism, Head Teachers who feel hopeless, teachers crying and office staff overwhelmed.

Each and every one of you should be extremely proud of what you are achieving, you are taking on the impossible and whatever you feel right now you are succeeding. Success is not measured by inspections it is measured by the fact that you care, you care to much sometimes wanting to do the best for your pupils, colleagues and each and every parent.

For just a few moments sit back and think about the following:

- Your school is open, maybe in some areas this may be virtually, by being open you are enabling most of your community to carry on with life. Allowing parents to work to pay bills and providing a positive mental stimulus to every pupil, some of which will have deep anxieties about what is going on in the world. Right now, may seem like a nightmare but when you look back on this period you will have every right to be proud of what you achieved and the support that you and your colleagues provided to your community.

- The fact that you may be feeling helpless, emotional or out of control means that you care, this is why we still have one of the best education systems in the world. It is you and the job that you do every day that is responsible for this.

- Unfortunately, we have lost some amazing people over the years who have chosen not to pursue their career in education, but you are still there trying to make a difference however small. Without you the school system would fall apart.

- Remember that you are only human, you have feelings and whatever your role you have as much right as anyone to have bad days. Try not to be self-critical, focus on the positives that each day brings. There really are plenty of them if you look hard enough and push those negative feelings aside for just a few moments.

- You will get through this; you have the skills to do the job which is why you are in your role. Try and use the current situation as a means of self-development, learning more about yourself and those around you. You will come out on the other side of this stronger as an individual and a team.

- You are in control of your thoughts, when those doubts or frustrations take over challenge them, i'm pretty sure that in most cases you could not have tried any harder or done anything differently. Reframe those negative perceptions and discover the positives hiding beneath.

- You have high standards and find it difficult to accept anything else, right now we are facing the unknown so it is crazy to put that sort of pressure on yourself. Your gauge should simply be asking whether you have done your best each day no matter what the outcomes have been.

- Please don't be afraid to talk to someone if things are getting on top of you, it is not a sign of weakness in fact it's a sign of strength. Sometimes for our own wellbeing we need to swallow our self-pride and ask for help. Those around you can often help put perspective on situations that may feel catastrophic to you.

You've got this, you should end each day feeling proud of who you are and what you have achieved despite feeling exhausted. The next day is a new challenge that will be full of curve-balls which will challenge you to the maximum of your capabilities but once that light goes out at bed time take a deep breath, smile and know that you are a true hero!


© 2022 Jon Kestell, Spiral Wellbeing, trading address 115 Marldon Road, Paignton TQ3 3NN. Providing staff training, wellbeing training, stress management and stress prevention courses throughout the UK, United Kingdom, England, Scotland and Wales.