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Staff wellbeing if remote working

Posted on: 06 Apr 2020

5 things that could help staff wellbeing during remote working.

I have started a list of resources that could be helpful for teaching online if teachers are remote working although most important, to quote NEU advice, “No teacher should be expected to carry out any online teaching with which they feel uncomfortable or in the absence of agreed protocols”. My advice is if you are able to teach online and you have the right protocols in place then do, as we want to continue to inspire curiosity and our students really miss their interaction with each other and their teachers. Please share any other advice or resources that you have found useful.

1. Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater and try to make it fun

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  • You know your students by this time in the year. The aim is providing your students with engaging, realistic tasks to help them continue the learning that you have started.
  • Inspire, keep them curious and engage them in “Hard Fun" but share the responsibility for their progress with them individually and collectively.
  • Balance screen time with other activities.
  • Students would like to see you.
  • Work comfortably and avoid injury.

2. Don’t do all the work

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  • Keep lessons Simple. We all know the difference between a great lesson that leaves you exhausted and one that leaves you charged and inspired.
  • Get students to help you by:
    • helping each other
    • peer assessing
    • collating results for you to oversee and feedback on
    • giving you feedback on sessions and their learning
  • Be realistic about what they can do and when but get them to accept more responsibility for their learning.
  • Praise their:
    • independence
    • students supporting you and each other
    • good ideas for collective learning
  • Find the currency of rewards that they value and give them to your students – badges?

3. Always have a non-digital backup

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  • Share the big picture of what you are trying to achieve with your students weekly and what they should do if they don’t feel well or if something doesn’t work like their:
    • device
    • Wi-Fi
    • cloud access
    • sharing of machines
  • Let them know you will continue to monitor and give them feedback on their progress whenever they can do it.

4. Weekends – look after yourself and your dependents

  • Remote teaching is new and harder for all of us, so we need to be gentle on ourselves as we learn how to teach remotely.
  • Social isolation is tough on everyone. Can you maintain your staff social community? @Garyhenderson18 is considering a virtual pub session for his team at end of the week to build an online social space for us all. Kellet in Hong Kong are offering weekly Mindfulness and yoga for staff.
  • Protect yourself in your communications with students – record any 1-1 communications.
  • Sanctions no longer work the same, but praise will always be effective. So, give more responsibility to your disruptors and make sure you share the load at school so there is something left for those you care about at home.
  • Switch off your notifications so they don’t disrupt your time and build in some joy to your day – you deserve it.

5. This is a marathon not a sprint - don’t expect too much too soon

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  • Be prepared to be agile and learn from your mistakes to get into a sustainable pace for working.
  • New teaching methods take time to settle in and students may not be able to work in the way you want for many reasons.
  • Make sure you have someone to share/ offload to help you learn – we all need a personal learning network.
  • Families will have all sorts of pressures on them now. Be understanding.
  • Share your journey to improve remote learning with your students and colleagues and ask for their feedback.
  • Share the responsibility for the quality of this adventure into remote working with your students.

Staff wellbeing resources

  1. TES: Staff Pulse – Schools can use this staff wellbeing survey to monitor staff well being.
  2. TES: 7 ways to protect your mental health.
  3. Desk stretches to ease aches and pains and Advice on avoiding aches and pains whilst remote working.
  4. With more teachers swapping classrooms for front rooms, Oliver Ireland shares five ways to avoid bad home-working habits for the TES.
  5. TES: Teachers’ rights ‘being trampled over’.
  6. TES: Coronavirus: Teachers should not live stream lessons.
  7. UK’s only charity providing mental health and wellbeing support services to all education staff and organisations.
  8. How to make sure your schools IT teams and providers are prepared for an increase in working from home, including advice on spotting coronavirus scam emails.
  9. The Washington Post: A complete list of what to do - and not do - for everyone teaching kids at home during the coronavirus crisis.
  10. 25 simple and fun non-screen activities that children can do at home.

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The ISC Digital Strategy group is composed of experts with representatives drawn from the ISC member associations and provides independent advice to Senior Management teams on a range of ICT related issues.