You don’t need magic to defeat a Dementor

9th November 2018, 12:00am
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Tes Editorial

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You don’t need magic to defeat a Dementor

https://www.tes.com/magazine/archived/you-dont-need-magic-defeat-dementor

In JK Rowling's Harry Potter series, Dementors are described as being foul, wraith-like creatures that suck happiness and hope out of the very air around them.

Sound familiar? It should - because very few schools are without them.

Real-life Dementors are often much sneakier than their fictitious counterparts. They masquerade as friends, drawing you in to an innocent grumble at the end of the school day. Before you know it, it's half past five, and what started out as letting off steam has very quickly led to all-out hatred towards the profession as a whole. Ultimately, it can lead to thoughts of being hopelessly trapped in a job that you despise.

I speak from experience, having both worked with Dementors and admittedly, being one myself.

Of course, I didn't know it at the time - Dementors are rarely self-aware. But looking back, I can see that I made myself and my colleagues utterly miserable with my complaining.

Now fully rehabilitated, to the point of being at times overly-enthusiastic, I'm nowadays much more aware of the way the words that I use impact myself and those around me.

Teachers beware; of spending time with Dementors; of becoming one yourself.

It's true that a good rant is healthy and necessary every now and then, but if it becomes part of your daily routine, well… just stop. If you really are desperately unhappy, you could spend that time looking for another job. Essentially, you could do something that makes you feel better, not worse.

If your school routine leaves you open to Dementor-attacks, change it. If it's you, not them, enlist friends in helping you to recover. Maybe they can tap you knowingly when you begin chuntering, or even shout something silly to disrupt the mood. Do whatever it takes to increase your daily happiness.

No one can deny that in the current climate, teachers are up against it. But with so many teachers leaving the profession, the ones who are staying need to take steps to protect themselves in any way that they can… even when it's from themselves.

Jo Steer is a teacher and experienced leader of wellbeing strategies

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