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Teacher Burn Out: Should I stay or should I go?

Whether you've been at a school a year or a decade, moving onto new pastures can be a tough decision to make. There is often guilt attached to leaving students and fellow teaching staff- but there shouldn't be! More than ever, teachers are leaving the profession they once loved. Before making the leap to a new life outside of teaching, you might want to think about moving on to another year group or even another school. It could reignite that passion and energy for this most rewarding of all vocations.  Just like clouds, every school is different! From one-form entry schools , to inner-city schools to mixed-group village schools, there are so many variables - not be mention different ethos' and leadership styles. Maybe you're ready for a change?  Should I Stay or Should I Go? When answering the below questions, consider what is most important to you and your well-being. Think about how sustainable your current work routine is long-term - you don't want to be burned

Make an Impact: Become an environmentally-friendly school

Unless you've been hiding under a rock, our own actions and choices are having an impact on the environment (spoiler: they always have done). Our high-consumption, convenience-based lifestyles are contributing to the Armageddon that we all assumed would stay on our television screens. Well, that nightmare reality is starting to hit us in the face like a wave of plastic packaging. Fortunately, the media attention and tragic yet informative documentaries (Blue Planet, The True Cost, Drowning in Plastic, Stacey Dooley Investigates Fashion's Dirty Secrets) are helping us to see the true extent of the problem. It is a BIG problem and no single person can make a significant impact. But we can make an impact! If I decide to be more environmentally conscious and you decide to and a few other people also decide to, then it's a lot better than doing nothing.

Whilst the media hype is on the subject, let's keep the conversation going! As teachers, we have the opportunity to impart our knowledge on so many young minds. After all, it's our pupils that'll feel the full force of previous generations' actions. I'm sure most schools recycle already, but there is so much more that can be done to make a positive impact.

environmentally friendly school advice and tips

Reusable Water Bottles in your classroom

Encourage parents to stop buying single-use plastic water bottles. Some parents told me their children lose their water bottles so it's easier to have a new one every day. Well, they weren't lost, they were cluttering up my sink area! Children need to learn to look after their belongings, rather than thinking they'll get a new bottle the following day.

Paperless lessons Day

I think most teachers feel the guilt from constantly printing, photocopying, and trimming paper for success criteria, worksheets, etc.  Yes, a scrap paper drawer is a step in the right direction for reusing paper. Maybe once a term, your school could do a paperless day, there are so many other ways to learn that don't include using paper (role play, outdoor lessons, mini whiteboards, tablets, team-building exercises).

After school Eco-Club

One of the teachers at my old school ran Eco-Club after school in the Autumn and Summer term. They learned about the importance of recycling, reusing, saving water, and creating habitats for local wildlife. They recycled old Christmas cards to make gift tags, made posters about saving water to keep by sinks around the school, reused plastic bottles to make bird feeders for our outdoor areas, etc. You might want to raise awareness during an assembly alongside some eco-club members to help all pupils understand their impact on the environment and re-think using single-use plastics and wasting food.

Second-Hand Clothes and Shoes Sale at School

Children can grow so quickly and only wear their clothes and shoes for a small amount of time. Having a stall full of donated second-hand clothes and shoes at Christmas and Summer fairs can help other families as well as reduce the waste and impact of buying new and binning used clothing.

Vegetarian School Dinner Day

This is something SLT and the kitchen staff would have to discuss, but how about having a weekly vegetarian day to cut back on meat consumption? The impact of meat-eating on the environment is widely known (and often ignored) so this more flexitarian diet is a step in the right direction. Plus this can expose children to different meals they wouldn't have previously chosen.

Walk to School Initiative

This initiative was around when I was in primary school! There are plenty of ways to organise this, from walking buddies to monthly incentives for pupils that live nearby. There are events such as walk to school week or international walk to school day. Make sure the pupils understand the benefits for themselves as well as the environment so encourage them to walk to school if it's safe to do so.

Let's keep the conversation going, what else do you do in your classroom/school? Please comment below or email using my contact form.

Check out my TES shop for great lesson plans, ActivInspire flip charts, and worksheets.


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