Hi everyone and welcome to this bonus episode of the Teacher Wellbeing podcast. Today I’m talking about teaching in the time of covid-19.
So I am recording this not with my regular mic and it’s just raw, imperfect, in-edited and un-produced, because I want to get it into your earbuds as soon as possible.
This is being recorded at a very particular moment in history. It’s lunchtime, Monday 23rd March 2020 and I’m in Queensland Australia. The Covid-19 pandemic has devastated or is in the process of devastating many countries around the world, including China, Italy, France, Spain, the US and the UK. Here in Australia we have now got more than 1200 cases, are being directed to practice social distancing, various states and territories are closing their borders domestically, and there is a petition of doctors raising concerns that we are heading for the same fate as Italy if something doesn’t change dramatically in our response, and yet schools remain open. Last night our Prime Minister held a press conference where he announced sweeping new social distancing measures by closing pubs, clubs, gyms, churches and other public gathering places, but emphasised that schools will remain open. Victoria, ACT and NSW however have split from this in various ways, either announcing school closures this week or at the moment NSW is saying schools stay open but they are urging parents to keep kids at home. Here in Queensland, the Queensland Teachers Union held an emergency meeting this morning and released a newsflash a couple of hours ago demanding that Queensland state schools be closed to students from Wednesday. Whether that happens, remains to be seen. Of course I’m well aware that this all may change, by tonight even, but at the time of recording, that’s the situation as it stands.
- My post that went a bit viral on Facebook
- Sign up to the Advocate, weekly love note in your email inbox
- Fatigue Resilience Masterclass 1
- Coaching Options
- Season 6 of the podcast!
- New Freebies Library
- Resilient Teacher Group Coaching program
My tips for coping with anxiety during this are:
1. Don’t panic.
2. If you’re feeling very anxious, practice lots of self-compassion.
3. Follow the specific workplace advice for your school and workplace – it’s different everywhere.
4. Check the advice that your union is giving too. They do seem to have finally caught up and are issuing advice relevant to your state or territory, so check that, it’s important.
5. Stay home if you’re sick! Do not under any circumstances ‘soldier on’. The schoolwork will wait, I promise.
6. If you have underlying medical conditions that already compromise your immune system, do speak with your doctor about how you specifically should prepare for and respond to the virus. If possible get a doctor’s certificate stating your need to not be at work and be social distancing right now.
7. Employ self-care strategies for anxiety that work for you. Suggestions include:
11. Talk to a trusted friend/vulnerability buddy
12. Fact Check your thoughts. Is it true?
13. If your anxiety isn’t manageable with self-care strategies, speak to a professional. Beyond Blue has a list: https://www.beyondblue.org.au/get-support/national-help-lines-and-websites
Also Lifeline on 13 11 14
Also your relevant Employee Assistant Line: https://teachersthriving.com/employee-assistance-programs-eap-teachers-australia/
14. Be mindful of how and when you consume news media. It’s important to be informed, but that doesn’t mean being plugged in 24/7.
15. Be extremely mindful of how you consume social media, and avoid it altogether if it is an anxiety trigger for you. I highly recommend you read ‘Digital Minimalism’ by Cal Newport for more on this.
16. Wash your hands, eat good food, get good sleep.
17. Look out for each other. Even if you’re not feeling too worried about this, others are. Don’t belittle them, support them. Send them this podcast episode and help them put these strategies into practice.
Remember to pick your battles and bide your time and stay focused on keeping your own personal resources topped up during this time so you can continue to rise to the challenges that are being presented to you.
You are doing an amazing job, dear teachers, in extremely challenging circumstances. I see you. I am proud of you.
As always remember that you are a PERSON first and a TEACHER second, and you are WORTHY of your own care. x
Have questions, comments, episode ideas or want to volunteer to be a guest on the show?
Get in touch with the Self-Care for Teachers team at hello [at] selfcareforteachers [dot] com [dot] au