This half term has been tough.
The swing of moods from the highs of having the children back to the energy sapping routines. The mental drain of having to overthink everything. Be in no doubt, this has been the hardest half term of my career. My energy levels have been so low and I’ve found myself at time consumed with all things Covid risk assessing things all the time – even when I’m out and about with my family! The act of supporting others often can leave me feeling drained myself and often as head, there isn’t necessarily someone to come in and give you that pick me up you might need. I’ve been on the verge of tears, I’ve been angry, I’ve been short with people, I’ve been fed up, I’ve been irrational, I’ve taken it out on my family, I’ve been distant and I’ve been sad.
But this isn’t a woe is me story.
The point of this blog is to let people know that it is absolutely fine to feel like this. It’s normal to feel like this. It’s OK to feel like this. Of course we will be feeling under pressure – we are under a lot of pressure. As well as the normal teaching we have everything else to think about at the moment – the cleaning, the coughing, the bubbles.
I wrote this blog to let people know that you are not alone in how you feel. There are plenty of other people feeling exactly the same way as you and I are and there are plenty of other people who want someone to talk to about it. When we feel at our most stressed is often when we shut down the most and become insular and stop letting it out. Now is not the time to start doing that. Now is the time to do the exact opposite. Open up to people and let them know how you are feeling because the chances are they are feeling the exact same way as you. Keeping it inside isn’t a show of strength and letting it out isn’t a show of weakness. No one will think less of you if you say you are struggling. Most likely they will say “Do you know what? Me too”. As cliched as it is, a problem shared can be a problem halved. I often feel heaps better after just talking my day through with my wife. Find someone you can do that with. It might be online, it might be in person after school each day (just stay 2m apart, clearly) but it’ll help.
You are not alone in the way you are feeling this term, and you don’t have to get through it alone either. Someone else is struggling with the same emotions and together you can work out a way through it. This isn’t to minimise how we feel – just maybe a way to help us all get through it together.
Last week I wrote a tweet about what we’ve achieved so far this term,.:
Reintegrated children to school
Rebuilt your relationships with them
Rebuilt their relationships with each other
Eased their anxieties
Assessed their learning
Started to rebuild what they’ve missed
Moved them forward
Kept them feeling safe
Reassured their parents
Rebuilt their structures and routine
Laughed with them
Reminded them how great school can be
Engaged them again
And this all true. But we need to make sure we aren’t doing this at any cost. We’ve got to make sure we look after ourselves too. We can achieve huge amounts this year, but we’ve got to look after ourselves first and, for me, the first step of this is telling someone else how we are feeling.
So if you’re feeling like it is getting too much, then talk to someone. Don’t feel like you are on your own – because you’re not. Don’t feel like you have to deal with it by yourself – because you don’t.
Strength is not found in solitude – it’s found in community. It’s found in compassion and empathy and you’ll find it in bucketloads from people – just ask them.