What are you doing to survive Term 4?

As we return to Term 4, better known as ‘the silly season’ what are you or your employer doing to make sure that you are okay? It is a time when so much needs to be done and there’s not a lot of time to do it.

In one day we not only teach, we manage behaviour, plan lessons, assess learning, counsel students, carry out first aid, reply to a long list of emails from parents, students, colleagues and management, set exams, write reports, tidy classrooms, create resources, mark books, assessment tasks and exams, create displays and resources, attend meeting after meeting, organise excursions, log PD hours, complete online SALT PD, organise Christmas and nativity plays and end of year celebrations – the list goes on.

Extra duties that are expected of teachers at this time of year are causing undue stress and anxiety. Who is looking after the teachers and support staff?

It is no wonder that teachers are saying enough is enough and good teachers are leaving the profession due to mental health issues because they just cannot cope with the pressure and ongoing expectations and increased work load.

We need to take care of each other, pitch in and help one another if we are to get through the term. Senior leaders need to be alerted when it all gets too much. With the added tasks and expectations, we cannot perform as well in the classroom, so students suffer. Is it any wonder that more than one in four early career teachers suffers from emotional exhaustion after starting their careers and leaves the profession within their first five years of teaching.

With the ageing teacher workforce, we need to value and assist these young teachers to keep them in the profession, value their contributions and mentor them to get them through Term 4.

Let’s all look after each other, keep an eye out for one another and continue to ask ‘are you okay, can I help in any way’ and we should all make it to the end of the year to enjoy Christmas with family and friends.

Keep up your good work and I wish you all a very happy Christmas and New Year and a most enjoyable holiday.

For our teachers heading off on teacher exchange, every good wish for a wonderful year, soak up the experience and enjoy your new school and country. Stay safe and happy travels.

Thank you all for your support throughout the year and I look forward to representing you again in 2019.

Chris Wilkinson