Exhaustion in education settings

It is finally the end of term 2. I thought term 5 & 6 last academic year was the hardest I have seen, but no this term I think has been the most challenging. I am tired, but I know this is nothing compared to the utter exhaustion the teachers, ta’s and senior leaders in schools are feeling. It has been such a strange term and it has impacted me in ways I did not expect. As well as being a nurture consultant with young children, I am also a writer and a trainer, but this term I have not felt able to write. That might be partly because at the end of the last term I finished one of my biggest writing projects, a new book for Routledge, but I think it was also due to trying to manage the constant change, I did not have the capacity to think about writing or training.

This week I have been writing reports for the children I support, it has given me some headspace to think and reflect. As I write that, I know that is a total luxury, and if I am honest I am feeling a bit guilty about that. One of my reflections has been how this term has felt like I have been standing on shifting sands. Every time I planned something, things changed, the rules changed, the children were there, then they were not there, it reached the point where daily I dreaded seeing an email or having a phone call telling me about another change. I have realised during this strange year that I really don’t like change! I like routine, I like to know what my plans are and I like to have notice about any changes. That is very similar to the children I support, they don’t like change and they like to be prepared for changes. If nothing else I think this term has given me a deeper understanding and appreciation of how the children I work with often feel.

As I said at the beginning of this piece of writing, I am tired, but I know this is nothing compared to what I am seeing in education staff. In previous blogs, I have written that I was concerned for education staff, but ending this year, I have never seen so much exhaustion and brokenness on such a large scale. I can’t express how worried I am for the staff who work in our education settings. They are doing the most incredible job. During terms 5 and 6, it is thanks to many education settings that families had food to eat, there were so many food deliveries to families organised by them as well as all the education they organised. In terms 1 and 2 this academic year, many staff have been worried about their health, and yet they have been working incredibly hard to provide an education for the children. Despite all of this the government and the tabloid press seem to think it is ok to criticise, to accuse teachers of slacking. I have often felt that the government and the press have no idea about what it is like to work in a school, and these last few months have proved that.

My hope is that the education staff can stop and rest over these next few weeks, but I know that won’t actually happen. Education settings are still responsible for the track and trace until Christmas eve, they will still be planning and preparing for next year and our colleagues in the senior schools will now be changing their plans for the beginning of the new term, as well as figuring out how to roll out testing on a massive scale.

Now is a time when those education staffs need to be held up, supported, encouraged, and helped.

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