How to Manage Anxiety about Returning to Work Schools
While the news that schools are opening fully again on the 8th of March is extremely exciting, it might understandably leave many of our teachers and support staff anxious about what lies ahead and what returning to the classroom might look like this time around. Those feeling this anxiety are certainly not alone and in order to try and help our teachers and support workers, we’ve compiled a few steps and pieces of advice from Team EP to help guide you through this process and prepare yourself once again for working life in the new ‘new normal’.
1. Take care of yourself
This seems like an obvious step, but a return to working-life may feel like an upheaval at first, so it’s important to avoid burn-out by looking after yourself properly. The truth is that as a teacher, educator or support worker of any kind, you are often likely to put the wellbeing of others ahead of your own. But the only way you can effectively support others is by first prioritising yourself. Make time to relax, spend time reading a good book, and perhaps take a walk in a green space - any activity that will allow you some much deserved peace and quiet and the chance to focus on de-compressing and unwinding.
2. Ease back in
While many teachers and support staff may not have the luxury of easing back in, supply staff can build back up to working in schools should they choose to. If the thought of returning to work is causing you stress and anxiety, perhaps you could ease back into working life gradually to allow yourself time to readjust. Whether this means only doing a handful of days per week rather than the full 5, or only a half day here and there while you adjust to the return to early mornings, supply work can provide the flexibility to ease you back into full-time work - or to support you in the transition to a new temporary work lifestyle. The most important thing, whether you’re plunged straight back into full-time schooling or able to take it at a slower pace, is that you take the pressure off yourself. We’re living in unprecedented times, and you don’t have to have all of the answers - just giving it your all and prioritising the well-being and learning of the pupils is enough!
3. Familiarise yourself with the guidance
In a time when official regulations and guidance is liable to change rapidly, it’s important you endeavour to keep yourself up to date with the latest general guidance. Equally, each school is likely to have their own regulations and procedures in place. If you are able to familiarise yourself with the school’s policies and procedures prior to arrival at your assignment, please do so.
4. Be prepared
Making sure you are as prepared as possible prior to your return to schools will likely ease your anxiety levels and make you feel ready to get back into the classroom. Ways to make yourself ready could be ensuring you have the appropriate PPE packed, as well as anti-bac wipes and sanitizer, creating lesson plans, refreshing your subject knowledge or taking online courses- you can brush up on essential Safeguarding knowledge by taking our free CPD-verified course. Please email email@example.com to register your interest for this.
5. Reach out
If you have any worries, doubts or queries regarding your return to schools, it’s important that these are communicated: whether to your friends and family, your school, or your agency. A lot of the fears around returning to working in schools seem founded on the uncertainty and lack of information, so when you do return to work in a school again it may ease your fears to know exactly what will be expected of you at that particular school. Be sure to ask for clarification on guidelines and regulations in the school, and you’re sure to feel much more at ease. Equally, if you are feeling stressed or anxious about any aspect of the return to work, we at Education People are only a phone call away- after all, a problem shared is a problem halved.
If you would like to discuss future roles we have on offer, register your interest in joining our team or have any other queries, give us a call on 0117 325 1516, or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Stay safe!