Being there for your colleagues at school
Posted on 29th May 2020 at 14:12
Teachers need each other. This isn’t a time for working in isolation. Collaboration and friendship are vital in keeping teachers sane and happy, especially when everyone starts returning to work after Lockdown. You may not know what your colleagues have been through over the past few months. They may have been directly affected by COVID-19, they may have lost a close relative or friend, they may have been juggling home schooling their own children alongside their own workload and have now had to persuade their own children that it’s safe enough to go back to school.
Not really 'business as usual'
Now you’re all returning to school, trying to get on as if nothing has happened. But trying to get school back to ‘business as usual’ and urging your classes to continue their learning journey is difficult when it’s not really ‘business as usual’. You may find that you or your colleagues can’t concentrate; you’re tired, listless, weary or bereft.
What you can do to help your colleagues
When you’re talking to each other in the staff room, listen out for each other, hear the prompts that indicate your colleagues may be carrying more than just their briefcase.
Listen out for the classic words, ‘I’m fine!’ No one likes to feel sad, so they do what most people are taught, they pretend that they’re ok.
Look out for non-verbal communication. Non-verbal communication includes tone of voice as well as facial and body signals.
If you’re concerned about a colleague, don’t ask them how they are, instead ask what’s been happening with them during Lockdown for instance. This will avoid the ‘I’m fine’ answer.
Listen to their answer without interrupting them.
Avoid the temptation to compare their experiences to your own. That’s not to say you can’t talk about your experience but say something like: “I can’t imagine how you feel. I know when my dad died I felt…”
Be present when they’re talking. When other people talk about their losses it can remind you of losses you’ve experienced. That’s normal. But it can take you out of the moment.
If they cry, that’s ok. Reassure them that crying is a normal and natural reaction to loss of any kind (loss of a relative or friend, loss of routine, loss of a pet, loss of feeling safe…). If you feel tears in your eyes, that’s ok, too. You’re showing empathy.
You don’t need to fix them; they just need to be heard.
It’s ok to ask them if they need a hug at the end of talking.
Have you seen our Top 5 tips for living through lockdown?
Take a look at our 5-point Plan for how to cope, improve your relationships and start feeling better today:
2. Be present
5. Say goodbye
Looking to expand your in-depth knowledge?
Would you like to speak to someone or are considering a Grief Recovery programme? Click here to find an online Specialist who can help you right away.
If you would like more information on how to cope with the current coronavirus crisis, see also:
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