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  • Writer's pictureAdrian Bethune

How to Thrive This Summer Term

The sun is starting to make an appearance and the spring flowers are in full bloom, but ahead of us lies one of the longest school terms of the academic year jam-packed with events, fundraisers, sports days, and end-of year performances – not to mention the rush to write school reports.  



So, how do we make sure we don’t run ourselves into the ground as we race towards the finish line in anticipation for the summer break?  


Here are a few tips for thriving in the summer term:  


Reflection 

A busy term ahead often means we’ve got our heads down and focussed on the holidays. But it’s important to take the time to savour just how far you and your class have come this year. It can be inspiring to take stock of the progress the children have made with their learning since September and to acknowledge the role you’ve played in that.


Consider, also the relationship you have built with your class and the bond you’ve made. This is particularly poignant if you’ve had a challenging class! And don’t forget to reflect on your own personal growth this year. Perhaps write down three areas you think you’ve developed in or achieved, whether it’s through formal training or daily lived experience.  


Why not try a group reflection with the class and ask them to recall their top three favourite moments from the year or ask them to think about what they have achieved?   


Plan in Fun 

It’s all too easy to put aside the things that nourish us in favour of planning and marking in the knowledge that six weeks’ holidays are on the horizon. But, as we well know, this ‘boom and bust’ cycle of working ourselves into the ground during term time in anticipation for the chance of rest during holidays is not only unsustainable, it’s a sure-fire way to fall out of love with the profession.  


Take time to plan in things you really look forward to throughout the term - whether that’s dinner with your friends, trips to the movies or short weekend breaks. The feeling we get when we know we have something to look forward to is called ‘anticipatory savouring’ and will help to break up the long summer term with short-term milestones.   


Back to Basics 

Busyness can often mean we forget to take care of our basic needs. As we like to say, it’s important that we weave our own parachute to make sure it’s fit for a crisis. If there are three areas we recommend you focus on its these: 


Sleep: Poor sleep is one of the fastest routes to poor mental and physical health so take the time to focus on your sleep hygiene. This means establishing a consistent bed and rise time (even at the weekends), putting down your device way in advance of your bedtime and being mindful of how certain foods might interfere with your sleep such as sugar, caffeine, and alcohol.  


For more tips on improving sleep check out this guide by the NHS. 


Food: How we fuel our bodies can have a direct impact on how well we cope with the demands of our day. Small tweaks to maintain healthy eating habits can make all the difference. Make sure you’re not skipping lunch to do that ‘important’ job and take a moment to think about the snacks you're having throughout the day. It can be difficult when the staffroom is often awash with cake and biscuits, but your energy levels will thank you for avoiding the sugar crashes in the long run.  


Movement: When we move, we feel better. It’s really simple. But again, often movement and exercise can easily fall by the wayside, especially if we’re feeling exhausted from a busy school day. But movement doesn’t have to look like an hour’s boot camp or training for a marathon. It can be as simple as going for a 10-minute walk at lunch time or after school, or a 15-minute yoga session before bedtime. Whatever floats your boat, keep that time as sacred to ensure you get enough movement in your week.  


It goes without saying that looking after your wellbeing is essential for your own happiness, but it is also a core ingredient in creating a happy classroom environment for the children. Finding ways to nurture your wellbeing in a manageable and sustainable way and for the longevity of your career is key.  


Happy teaching!  

 




For more research-based, practical tools for looking after your wellbeing as a teacher, take a look at our award-winning online course Staff Wellbeing & Self-Care in Schools, developed and delivered by Teachappy founder, Adrian Bethune and teacher and wellbeing expert, Dr Emma Kell .  

 

 

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