4 reasons why teachers need a rest from Covid

It's absolute madness if teachers don't get time to rest amid the huge demands of the pandemic, says Allison Weir
2nd January 2021, 1:00pm
Allison Weir

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4 reasons why teachers need a rest from Covid

https://www.tes.com/magazine/archived/4-reasons-why-teachers-need-rest-covid
4 Reasons Why Teachers Need A Rest From Covid

In the run-up to Christmas, it felt like all I was hearing was "just hang on until the holidays". Unfortunately, I spent most of the holidays trying to plan for next term.

Despite what some of the media say, teachers care about the children they teach and are working harder than ever to fix everything that lockdown and Covid have destroyed. It is, therefore, vitally important that in 2021 we take time for ourselves.

I cannot stress enough the importance of finding times for rest. It's very common for teachers to use any time off as extra time for planning and preparation for the next school term. In my opinion, this is absolute madness. It's so important that you take the time away from school as an opportunity to relax, instead of starting a conveyor belt of printing, planning and laminating.

1. Mental clarity

How many of you can remember the last time you had a clear head? I can honestly say it was before I became a teacher definitely before I became a mother. When you push yourself to work too many days in a row, eventually your brain will start to push back. Suddenly you will find you no longer have any creativity, patience or empathy for others. Burnout is a real thing. Taking some time for a walk, reading a book or laughing with friends reduces our cortisol levels thus reducing stress and clears our brain ready for what lies ahead in the new year.


Quick read: 'Teachers have more than earned a rest'

Teacher wellbeing during Covid: 5 ways teachers can prioritise their mental health

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2. Better relationships

You're more than just a teacher, you are a person too. I found myself apologising to my friends the other day for not being in touch for months. This is simply not right. You must take time to focus on your relationships. If you're constantly talking about work, checking emails, planning lessons then you're not spending quality time with your loved ones. Humans are naturally social beings. While it's been very difficult this year to be social, it has highlighted how important it is to spend quality time with loved ones, even if it is via Zoom...

3. Better balance

I have to admit I'm really bad at this one: I completely lost my sense of self this year. It's important to remember that you have likes and interest. Maybe there is a hobby that you have neglected or a TV show that you've been trying to catch up on for months. Taking time away from your work gives you a chance to have some joy and remember what life was like before you became relentlessly busy. Taking the time to live will only inspire your work.

4. Improved productivity

When we are overworked and very tired we lose our passion and drive. How do you expect to inspire and educate young minds when you can't focus on your passions? By taking a proper rest you will find that you are more productive and can get through work quicker and to a higher standard.  

My mum once told me: "What's for you won't go past you. Life will happen, everything will work out one way or the other." We don't need to be giving any more of ourselves over to the jobs that we already give everything to during term time, it won't change the outcome.

It doesn't really matter how you spend your time away from school - as long as the time is not spent constantly doing work.

Allison Weir is a teacher and digital leader of learning, based in Scotland. She tweets @MrsWeirTeach

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