Make mental health and wellbeing a priority in 2023
As someone who dedicates their professional life to working in SEN teaching – or is considering doing so – you spend the majority of your life focused on the needs of others.
Teaching, whilst often listed as one of the most rewarding professions, can be stressful. When supporting children with special needs or disabilities, the role can be even more challenging as students require an extra level of attention and there’s no typical student, so SEN teachers are required to wear many hats.
According to NASUWT Teacher’s Union 2022 Wellbeing at Work survey , 90% of teachers experienced more work-related stress in the last 12 months and 91% report that their job has adversely affected their mental health in the last year.
The data is concerning, particularly when you consider that mental burnout leads to increased absence, which has a direct impact on students – particularly in a SEN setting where familiarity of staff is a key priority.
That’s why in 2023 and beyond, we’re encouraging SEN employers and employees to make mental health and wellbeing a priority. In order to perform at their best, be productive and help students thrive, teaching staff need support too.
Here are our top five tips for managing and mitigating stress –
1. Create an open door policy
When teachers feel that they can talk openly about stress and workload problems, the overall teaching environment improves. A problem shared is a problem halved, so encourage clear communication between teachers, teaching assistants and senior staff and endeavour to nip issues in the bud before they escalate.
2. Be clear about objectives and priorities
Be transparent about targets, objectives and ongoing performance. This helps teachers to prioritise so they can practice holding healthy boundaries that stop them from taking on too much and feeling burnt out.
3. Explore CPD and training opportunities
A growing skillset equals increased confidence and this shouldn’t be underestimated. Regular training is proven to improve job satisfaction, wellbeing and resilience – three vital ingredients for success.
4. Introduce a mentor or buddy system
Having a workplace mentor or buddy means there’s always a dedicated individual to lean on – whether that’s to share issues, brainstorm an idea or seek general advice. A network of knowledge sharing and support is invaluable in helping teaching staff work towards solutions and minimise stress.
5. Keep the body and mind active
Arranging a programme of group or individual activity sessions not only brings employees together but is a great boost for wellbeing. Research proves that a healthy body leads to a healthy mind, so make this a priority in 2023.
As for the health and wellbeing of students, check out Children’s Mental Health Week 2023 , which will take place from 6-12 February. Run by mental health charity, Place2Be, the theme for this year is ‘Let’s Connect’ and will encourage children and adults to look at how they can make meaningful connections.
There is a wealth of free resources for primary age and secondary age children available on the website to take part in and all of the ideas can be adapted for use in school, for home-schooling, online lessons or independent learning.
Tag us on social media throughout the week to let us know how you’re getting involved – we’d love to see.