Teaching can be quite an isolating job at times. We’re busy at work and we’re busy at home. We get rarely socialise as much as we should and some days, we barely even speak to another adult at all. Amanda shares five questions you should take time out of your day to ask a colleague.
Being able to help someone before they become overwhelmed by workload is really important to try to prevent a more serious mental health condition developing. How can you make a small gesture that makes a big difference?
- How are you?
Sometimes we can become so focused on our own to-do list, we can forget to check up on the people around us. Simple, but effective, asking someone how they are can give you an insight into their mindset and see if there is anything you can do to help them should they need it.
- Fancy a cup of tea?
Making sure you have time to stop and recharge your batteries at some point during the day is really important. Encouraging others to do the same can be a welcome prompt and it also gives you time to have a chat, again giving you time to see that everything is OK.
- Do you want me to…?
Listening to someone’s concerns or worries might give you an opportunity to offer some help. For example, it could be that they are struggling to teach a topic and you could share a resource with them. Or perhaps they are feeling anxious about their marking and you can have a look to check if it is on the right lines. Being able to offer a supportive hand could make the difference to someone who is feeling overwhelmed. This isn’t about you taking away their workload to add to your own – this is about friendly support when it is needed.
- Have you had some lunch?
When teachers are busy, very often stopping for lunch can drop down the list of priorities, but this needs to be at the top of the list – eating gives the energy that is needed to teach for the rest of the day, both physically and mentally. Like having a cup of tea, it also gives an opportunity to recharge batteries. This question is even better if it includes an invitation to the staff room to get that teacher out of their classroom and socialising with others – teaching can be a lonely job if we never venture outside of our classrooms.
- Are you ready to go home now?
If you notice that often on your way home another colleague is still working away in their classroom, why not suggest it’s time to call it a night, especially if you know that person is in need of a rest. Sometimes we can get caught up in our to-do list and a gentle nudge from a colleague can be a welcome prompt to down tools and go home.