Teaching is one of the most rewarding and fulfilling vocations there are. It’s can also be one of the most exhausting. With increasing workloads and higher accountability, we have a growing retention crisis on our hands. More and more, teaching involves high levels of scrutiny, a diminishing work/life balance and can be very overwhelming for trainees and NQts newly coming in to the profession.
But it’s important for teachers to remember that one of their best support tools is each other. By supporting each other, teachers can be stronger.Here’s why teachers must have a support network and a few tips for how you can create one.
First and foremost, when teaching gets tough, having a support network can help you carry on. Endless planning and marking on your own can leave you feeling isolated. So it’s good to remember that you are not alone. Finding a positive support network could be all you need to avoid the dreaded teacher burnout.
One of the biggest reasons that trainee teachers drop out of teaching is because of a lack of support. It’s hard enough to recruit teachers and on top of that, schools are struggling to retain the ones they recruit. As an experienced teacher, you should always support new teachers, even if it’s just to say that your door is open should they need it. Sometimes all a new teacher needs is to know that someone is there to listen and give advice. If you’re a new teacher and are finding that your mentor is not supportive enough, then you should always speak to your training supervisor and seek out other colleagues to support you.
Support learning and development
As a teacher, you should never stop learning. Having a support network means that you can continue to develop by learning from others around you as well as having the opportunity to pass on your own knowledge. If you’re really struggling to get through to a particular pupil or your stuck in any manner of work conundrum, having a group of people that can share their knowledge and advice with you can help lift you out of those ruts that you just can’t see a way out of on your own.
Collaboration is key
In addition to developing your own learning professionally, having a support network of teachers means that you can collaborate with your colleagues and make your work even greater than it currently is. Collaborating within your department, across your school, or even between other schools, collaboration offers you the chance to build your support and enhance your work, impact and outcomes.
It’s not just about you
Creating a supportive environment with your colleagues not only makes things easier for the teachers, it creates a trickle-down effect to the students. We are always teaching our students to work as a team, to peer-assess and simply be nice to each other. Lead by example and support your peers!
How to support your colleagues
Here are a few things you can do to create a more supportive work environment:
- Mentoring and coaching
- Have an open-door policy
- Share ideas and resources
- Praise and big-up your colleagues to leadership
- Find supportive communities online
Join our community of teachers at RealiseMe!
RealiseMe is built with the aim of creating a community for teachers where you can not only find jobs but also have access to supportive career forums where you can share advice and classroom resources. It’s your very own online staff room. It’s also completely free!