A News story by 13 May 2024

During Mental Health Awareness week, we wanted to take five (excuse the pun!) to look at how we can reflect on how we look after ourselves and how we manage our workload to be more effective and productive. Our colleague, Natalie Kaminioti Dumont, Associate Assistant Headteacher from E-ACT Hareclive Academy shares her thoughts 

Your take five: 

  1. Collaboration 
  2. Harnessing technology  
  3. Effective time management 
  4. Professional development 
  5. Supportive leadership  

The journey of a teacher is ever-evolving, filled with diverse responsibilities that can influence our mental well-being. As we delve into this topic, I’m drawn to how making tiny adjustments can make a big impact in productivity. My ‘take five’ summarises real techniques I have personally implemented for myself to get a better work-life balance.  

Let’s explore some strategies aimed at achieving this goal: 

1- Collaboration – share the load 

  • Collaborative Planning: Embracing collaborative lesson planning and resource creation within our academy community not only eases individual workloads but also cultivates a sense of unity and shared responsibility. It’s about working smarter, not harder, and realising that we’re all in this together. 
  • Effective Communication: Open channels of communication between teachers, academy leaders, and support staff are essential. This ensures that workload concerns can be addressed collaboratively and in a timely manner, fostering a supportive and understanding environment. 
  • Workload Audits: Periodic assessments of workload distribution allow us to pinpoint areas for improvement and implement targeted interventions. It’s about continuously striving for balance and well-being in our professional lives.

2- Harnessing Technology 

  • Try AI (it is a game changer!): Using technology for administrative tasks and communication is a game-changer. From reducing paperwork to streamlining processes, the possibilities are endless. AI platforms, when used responsibly, can revolutionise lesson planning, resource development, parental communications, and more, empowering us to focus on what truly matters: educating our students. 

3- Effective Time Management  

  • Equipping ourselves with time management techniques enables us to prioritise tasks and operate more efficiently.  
  • Establishing realistic deadlines and expectations, both from others and ourselves, is paramount in maintaining a healthy work-life balance. 

4- Professional Development 

  • Providing professional development opportunities centred on workload management, effective teaching strategies, and overall well-being empowers us to navigate our workload with confidence and resilience. 

5- Supportive Leadership 

  • Our academy leaders play a pivotal role in supporting us through workload challenges. By recognising our needs, providing resources, and nurturing a culture that values work-life balance, they contribute to our overall well-being and job satisfaction. 
  • Clear Policies and Procedures: Establishing transparent policies and procedures for tasks like marking and assessment fosters consistency and minimises unnecessary workload caused by ambiguity or confusion. 

I hope you’ve found some of my tips useful and it gets you and your colleagues thinking about how you all manage your workload in different ways.  

Prioritising our mental health and well-being as teachers is not just a noble endeavour; it’s a fundamental aspect of creating a thriving educational community. By embracing innovative strategies, fostering a supportive culture, and championing work-life balance, we can ensure that we all feel valued, empowered, and equipped to fulfil our vital role in shaping the future. 

 

Article Written By: Natalie Kaminioti Dumont, Associate Assistant Headteacher from E-ACT Hareclive Academy