Well being for teachers. Latest blog by our member Ruth Pearson from Listening to Your Voice

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Put Your Mask On First! Why Teacher Wellbeing is Essential!

22nd March 2017 7:25 am

Ruth Pearson
You’re about to take a fight, but before take-off, the air hostess goes through the safety regulations. He tells you the location of the nearest exits.  He then tells you what to do if the oxygen levels falls.

Put your oxygen mask on first, before helping children or other passengers.”

He knows, that it is essential that you look after yourself first, before you look after the needs of others.


There were 168 hours in last week. If you were to take an audit, how much time did you spend looking after your own wellbeing? Not your staff, not family, but on yourself.

I can hear you saying that you had a busy week, lots of deadlines, as it is coming to the end of term. I’ll accept that, after being a teacher myself. But note, it is not good to neglect yourself.

There were 672 hours last month. How much time did you spend looking after your own wellbeing? Not your staff, not family, but on yourself.

I have read an informative blog post this week it is called ‘The Elephant in The (Staff) Room – Why We Need To Talk About Teacher Wellbeing;’ the blog opens with the following words:

It is impossible to support the social and emotional health of young people, if we as teachers do not attend to our own emotional health.

It is impossible!!

If you have been following my blog posts or have seen my latest video about why I wrote my self-help coaching book ‘Say Yes To New Opportunities! Be Motivated to L.E.A.R.N’ you will know that the trigger for the book was the unexpected emotional meltdown that I had as a teacher.

What was the cause? I did not put my mask on myself first. I was so busy looking after the needs and wellbeing of others, that I did not look after my own wellbeing. Does anything I have written so far resonate with you?

If it does, read on.

To loolistening-to-your-voice-logok after myself, I had to take the brave move to take a break from a career that I had devoted over 25 years to. But I knew that the excessive demands of being a teacher was impacting my health in a serious way. In this break, I got the help from others that I needed, in the form of therapists and coaches, to learn how to put on my mask, as I was too weak to put it on myself!! What was even worst, I did not even know that the mask was needed!

Poor pupil behaviour, excessive workload, constant monitoring and accountability, poor self-esteem, constant deadlines, together with other reasons contributed to my poor physical and mental health. This did not just impact me, it impacted others teachers in the school. It also had a direct impact on pupil outcomes. It impacted both my personal and professional relationships.

Those who know me well, know that I am not selfish. As I learn, I share my knowledge with others. This was one of the reasons why I wrote my self-help coaching book ‘Say Yes To New Opportunities! Be Motivated to L.E.A.R.N

I want to share what I have learnt, after looking after my own wellbeing in an affordable way with others. I am using the book to transform lives, just as my life has been transformed.

I am on a campaign now to improve the education system. We know the story of how Rosa Parks decided that change had to come. She remained seated on the bus in America, instead of giving up her seat to another passenger. Change must start with one person sharing their experiences. My coach has encouraged me to share my story. He has said that my emotional meltdown is now my gift. I need to let others know that there is hope for them. I had to be prepared to change and to get the help I needed. Are you prepared to get the help you need?

This last year has not been easy for me, and I know that it has not been easy for you too. We have both had our challenges in different ways. But why not do something new today. Why not take some time to put on your essential wellbeing mask? Have some me time. Do something that you like to do, preferably outdoors so you get some fresh air and sunlight. I don’t want you to reach burnout or worst still have an emotional meltdown or other stress related medical condition.

I would like to hold a workshop for teachers over the Easter holiday, but want to know if there is a need.  It would be for a couple of hours including time to network, in the late afternoon or evening. One thing I have been taught this past year is not to make assumptions.  I may think this is a good thing to do, but do others. You may not want to wait until the holiday, if you want to take action today, send me an email at ruth.pearson@listeningtoyourvoice.co.uk.

Would you like to know how you can put your mask on first, by stepping outside of your comfort zone, click the link here.

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