Sian Rowland is a freelance trainer, advisor and writer. Much of her work surrounds creating teaching resources for education and other businesses. She was a primary school teacher for a number of years, before moving into leadership, before becoming an advisor for the Local Education Authority before working for herself – as such, she has a fascinating view on the work of a teacher!
I think I am often guilty of forgetting that a great number of the people who work in education don’t continually work in the classroom – my conversation with Sian reminded me of this. We had a lovely, energetic discussion in which she discusses the challenges she saw in living a healthy lifestyle as a teacher and how that can be addressed personally and as an organization.
Listen to this interview:
Sian’s top tips:
Turn your school e-mail off at night / don’t put it on your phone
“Pretty much every teacher I speak to now has e-mail on their phone all evening, night and holiday. Technology has made teaching more complex. Schools should just say, ‘we don’t expect staff to have school e-mail on their phone'”
“We’ve got to move away from health tokenism – “we’ve put a bowl of fruit in the staff room” – and make systemic changes. It stresses staff out when STL / authorities put new systems in place which filter down to pressure on teachers… They need to think: “is this idea actually going to benefit our school, pupils and teachers, or are we best letting teachers get on with what they do best.”
See the big picture
“Every time you have a problem in a school it feels like the end of the world. When you see these things in the greater scheme of things they’re not that bad, but when you’re in the school it feels like the end of the world. That’s why it’s important to have a life outside of school.”
“It’s very easy to stop doing things outside of work. Fix things in your diary to look forward to. Have hobbies outside school.”
“You have to be stern and give yourself permission to switch off.”
Know that teaching is relentless
“From the minute you step over the threshold in the morning it is relentless, it does not stop… Trying to meet the needs of all your students is mentally and physically exhausting.”
Schools should enable teachers to do what they do best
“Anything that supports, encourages and acknowledges professionalism has to be the way forward.”
Could these things 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.