Dr Emma Kell discusses teacher wellbeing



with me now is Emma Kell who's been a teacher for more than 20 years and he's recently written a book called how to survive in teaching also with me is Aisha small who's a former teacher who left the profession after experiencing several mental health issues and has now written a book called the unexpected leader and finally Sinead mcbrady is the CEO of the education support partnership a charity which supports people within education good evening to you all and Aisha we heard from those teachers also the head of Ofsted saying it's the work load the work load is just too much to bear and that's what became it took its toll on you yeah I'm interesting my experience mirrors what they often report says actually so at the time that I had a breakdown I was a middle leader in a school I was a subject leader and I was also about five to seven years into my teaching career and I was working in a school that was rated R I saw requires improvement and all of those things together um helped to create a condition that was too difficult for me to sustain what happened exactly and how did that that break down how did it come about well it's funny to think about it now but at the time it was it was terrible I remember going in it probably seems quite odd but you actually haven't in September which doesn't necessarily make that much sense so I remember going into the hall and we had some teachers always have like a briefing after that after summer holidays and the head teacher stood up and I basically realized I couldn't go for another year like the one I just had and I walked out of the hall and started crying in the carpark it was a very difficult time for me but it was because I realized how difficult the previous year had been and it had been successful in many ways so my department had got the better of a results for the school but I just realized that we couldn't I couldn't possibly do that all over again for a whole year and ma you also sadly had to deal with the mental issues as well it just explained what happened with you yeah I mean for the vast majority of my career I've been extremely lucky but I did have one particular year when I was working in a school with a very high level of presenteeism so you know look that was see being seen to be at school till seven eight nine ten o'clock at night was the norm you'd get sort of taught a diet and found upon if you tried to leave at 4 o'clock and pressure pressure pressure also in our I school like Ayesha's and the pressure to raise results constantly was there and that had a massive effect on my family I remember driving home my phone had run out of battery and my mom was waiting for me at home with my two very young children job babies at the time and just driving along these country lanes thinking I'm gonna have an accident I've been an accident but I've got to get home because my mom's going to be so worried and I've been stuck in these meetings until I think after after 8 o'clock at night I mean that scrubs are all but myths about you know easy life you finished school at 3:30 what we know what can you complain about you have been in the industry I'm in the profession for more than 20 years and you said for most of that you've been fine what happened what changed well I think it's all about context isn't it I think that so it depending on a lot of it depends on the quality of school leadership in the culture you're working in the Ofsted grading of a school and the pressure to improve can be a big factor as well but for me I mean what changed for the better was advice from others about finding a school that suits you that suits your own values your own ethics and actually a school which treats people as human beings rather than just as teachers for that humanity so making a decision to move on and actually find myself I actually took a little bit of time out and went part times have stepped away a little bit but when I was actually ready to go back in full time it was really important to me to actually meet the head talked to the head realized that actually that person very much shared the same values as I did and actually then I was very very happy for a very long time but never that yeah yeah mr. Nate you wouldn't be surprised by issues and the stories and in fact you weren't surprised by the results from this research as well no the results from this research echo what we find in our own research and also from the helpline so we run a helpline where anyone working in education in any role can call us up and speak to a counselor and access up to six sessions of counseling to help them with a particular issue that they're experiencing we get an awful lot of people coming through who experiencing anxiety and depression and significantly worse and what we've noticed over the past two years is that the volume of calls we take has dramatically but also the severity of issues that people are presenting with has shocked us at how much it has risen by so if you have teachers dealing with this these immense issues to the extent it becomes a mental health problem how long does this affect the children the kids well this is one of the the really important points to land with everybody out there whether they're a policymaker or a parent is that whilst it's very important that we look after the grown-ups for their own sake actually we know that one of the key things that will affect the pupils outcome is the relationship with a teacher and if that teacher is feeling under pressure and stress and is not well they simply can't do the job we're asking them to do they can't connect with the child and the way they otherwise would and so this is a really significant issue for the whole of society I usually what did you see in the class in terms of how how you were affected affected the children and well I'd like to make a wider point about the type of school I worked in and I worked in the school that was quite as improvement which in many ways is a great school I loved working there I also echo Emma's experience in that I went to another school who was very very happy and saying teaching for longer but the teachers in schools are requires improvement or inadequate or more likely to have poor mental health issues and that is a big problem in the report officer doesn't really mention much about that and also the other important thing is that in schools that are rated inadequate or alright are more likely to be in disadvantaged areas so there's a correlation or there's a link between most vulnerable children but the teachers teaching them and the stress that they're feeling and I think that's something that could have been addressed more in the report of course and and it's such a shame it wasn't because those kind of jobs even though you are working in schools which does require improvement they can be the most rewarding and we should be rewarding the teachers who choose to work in those kind of schools we really should and what did you see in the classroom in terms of the effect it had on children yeah well one of the issues that I felt wasn't explored much in the report was the whole teacher attrition rate so the rate of teachers actually leaving the profession and the impact that has on young people because actually when you meet young people who've had five or six math teachers in the last two years the effect on them is profound work at secondary level and it's all about the relationships you know the students that the students need to know they've got someone stable and there for them in the classroom and if their teachers are changing constantly that for them actually creates a huge amount of insecurity and both of you have mentioned just how how rewarding is now what you love and that was one thing that was pointed out in the research just overwhelmingly teachers do love their jobs

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