5 ways managers can support education staff during coronavirus crisis | Education Support

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5 ways managers can support education staff

5 ways managers can support education staff during coronavirus crisis

Leading, motivating and supporting staff is a tricky proposition in the midst of a national crisis. Teachers and education staff throughout the sector are dealing with a wide range of issues.

In this short video ​our CEO Sinéad Mc Brearty outlines 5 ways that headteachers, school and college leaders and managers can best support teachers and education staff during the current coronavirus crisis. 

Here is quick summary of the 5 ways to support teachers and education staff for you to print out and reference.

1. Clear management structures: 

  • Encourage staff to establish a work routine – if this doesn’t need to be rigid, give as much flexibility as poss to allow people to manage childcare, and other personal demands
  • Agree manageable weekly/fortnightly goals
  • Don’t call or video call unexpectedly – agree times for catch up
  • Debrief your team. Teachers are dealing with new and difficult boundary issues - schooling in the domestic realm, worry about vulnerable students etc. They will need support to reflect on these  issues and deal with the emotional impact.

2. Purpose

This is normally clear for teachers and support staff but without a direct connection with students, it can become foggy:

  • Help staff to maintain a clear sense of purpose - what they are there to do and what is most important - and help them to make it meaningful in this current situation.
  • You might want them to focus on how they can support students to remain connected with the school community.

3. Control 

We all like a sense of control but are ability to control events is low at this time. Managers needs to encourage staff to distinguish between what they can and can’t control: 

  • What can't be controlled:
    • Learning outcomes
    • The extent to which families comply with the school's approach
    • Normal standard fo safety and safeguarding
  • Focus instead of areas where they can make a meaningful difference: 
    • Demonstrating care for their students
    • Offering support 
    • Offering feedback where possible

4. Relationships

Education is a profoundly social profession and it's essential to have good collegiate relationships to promote teacher resilience and at this time it cannot be done in the usual way: 

  • Help staff to identify which colleagues can energise and support them and encourage them to reach out and connect with these colleagues.
  • Help them recognise who they can support.
  • Develop a two-way flow across school or college network, supporting & supported.

5. Mental health hygiene

Good mental health hygiene is important to keep everyone well at this time. Managers need to encourage staff take care of themselves and need to role model this behaviour:

  • Regular exercise, good nutrition, enough sleep and limit social media.
  • Creativity – rearrange room, learn to sing a song, cook new dish, grow plant, make/do/mend, TikTok routine.
  • Practice gratitude – focus on the positive and celebrate small victories and be liberal with praise.
  • Accept uncertainty - when will school go back? How can they safely? These are all things we cannot control, so try to focus on what we can control.
  • Talk about feelings and accept as normal feelings of anger, sadness, fear, and grief at the loss of our way of life or bereavement for the loss of a loved one. 

This is a time for empathy. Getting through the day can be an achievement. You can best support our teachers and education staff by being human first and line managers second.  

Remember teachers & education staff who are feeling stressed or anxious during these uncertain times can get confidential emotional support from our free and confidential helpline: 08000 562561.  And anyone in education who is in financial distress, can apply to us for a grant.

We are here for you. We will listen. We can help.

What can you do?

If you’re in a position to help others in these extraordinary times, please consider making a donation so that we can continue to answer the increasing number of desperate calls and grants applications we are receiving. Thank you so much.