To celebrate the launch of the new book A Little Guide to Teacher Wellbeing and Self-Care, co-authors, Adrian Bethune and Dr Emma Kell chat with author and coach, Angie Browne about some of the key themes in the book.
What role does purpose play in teacher wellbeing?
The first chapter of Adrian and Emma's new book starts with purpose and values. But why are they so important to teacher wellbeing? It's all to do with their intrinsic nature. Almost all teachers join the profession to help shape the lives of young people in some positive way - it's an internal motivation. But teaching, with its external pressures means we can get sidetracked and end up on a different path to that which we set out on. Reminding ourselves of why we got into teaching can be a source of inspiration and motivation.
What is agency and what role does it play in wellbeing?
Agency is about feeling in control over the important aspects of your professional and personal life. But don't teachers work in a system that doesn't grant them autonomy and, therefore, strips them of their professional agency? Not according to Emma, Angie and Adrian. Teachers have more control than they think they do and the little things really matter!
Is it possible to find balance in teaching?
Teaching at the best of times can be a real challenge to find balance between work and life outside. But the pandemic has likely exacerbated the issue. However, finding that balance is essential to enjoying your work and making it sustainable. Keeping your purpose in mind, being realistic about what you can achieve and maintaining perspective about what really matters can help us navigate through the more challenging 'seasons' of teaching.
What is the reality for school leaders at the moment?
Most school leaders haven't stopped since March when the first national lockdown took place. They're exhausted and the deep sense of responsibility for people's health and safety weighs heavily on their shoulders. Despite this tiredness and fatigue they are doing really well and we should all say a collective 'thank you' to them for lighting the way and leading us through this period of darkness.
Adrian Bethune and Dr Emma Kell have co-authored A Little Guide to Teacher Wellbeing and Self-Care (Sage, 2020)