At Now Teach, we believe that looking after your wellbeing is crucial for all trainees and teachers. For Mental Health Awareness Week this year, we are highlighting the support we offer Now Teachers during their teaching journey.  

 

One-to-one support  

The training year brings mixed emotions for all trainees, but we know that a Now Teach trainee’s progress in the first term can look slightly different to a recent graduate’s as they adapt to a different environment and pace.  

It can take time for them to acclimatise to teaching after a long-standing career in another sector where they have developed a set routine.  

For this reason, we provide our trainees with a personal Programme Manager who can provide a safe, non-judgemental space to discuss anything they might feel unclear about and find appropriate solutions 

Programme Managers are used to helping trainees navigate the unchartered territory of that first term and help them gain confidence as they progress throughout the rest of their training year.  

“I had a lot of surprises – some good experiences and some bad ones. Basically, forewarned is forearmed. But also, just be ready to be really fulfilled and happy.” Charlotte Sankey, Cohort 2019 

 

Now Teach Network 

Relationships and feeling connected are a vital part of our wellbeing, so we have a wide network of career-changers who share their personal experiences and resources with each other.  

We put trainees in touch with other Now Teachers doing the same subject who can advise them on getting to grips with the learning material and the reflectionneeded for their professional development  

Being part of the Now Teach Network also means having access to educational experts at our monthly sessions and at our annual conference, such as Dr Emma Kell, who has a strong background in education and wellbeing  

“The team is always available to answer questions and problems, and the seminars and talks are always insightful and valuable.” Richard Lewis, Cohort 2017 

 

Wellbeing coaching sessions 

Now Teach trainees bring confidence and resilience from their previous careers, which help them manage the change curve that many people experience over their training year.  

Support from their Programme Manager and the wider Now Teach Network is often enough to reassure them when issues arise 

However, at times they can experience more complex challenges and we can refer them to our wellbeing coach, Trish Dooley. She is a qualified Co-Active Coach trained by the Coaches Training Institute (CTI) and has a deep understanding of career-changers  

“I found the issues of identity and status particularly hard to deal with in that first term. Trish helped me understand that what I was experiencing was perfectly ordinary. It was incredibly reassuring, and I began the Spring term in a much more positive frame of mind.” Trainee, Cohort 2019  

 

Partnership with Place2Be  

Teachers often find that they have to look after their own wellbeing and their students’ wellbeing. While teachers are not mental health professionals, we help Now Teachers adopt useful practices in the classroom to support students who need it.   

Whave been working closely with Place2Be, a provider of mental health services in schools, on two important programmes.  

IJune 2020, 25 Now Teachers completed five-week online Mental Health Champions – Foundation programme. Five of them went on to take part in Place2Think’s School Mental Health Consultations between January to April 2021.  

Some of the topics covered in these sessions were tips on building resilient relationships with children and young people and supporting anxiety.   

I am very interested in psychology and particularly the psychology of teenagers, so the online programme in the summer was an exciting opportunity to build on my previous knowledge.” Anne-Marie Lawlor, Cohort 2017 

The mental health consultations were great as I was able to hear how other teachers handled their more difficult classes. It was reassuring to know that everyone was experiencing the same thing, whether they were teaching at an inner-city or rural school.” Carol Simpson, Cohort 2019 

 

The teacher training year is a hard one and we know that being honest about this helps Now Teachers prepareBut even the most prepared Now Teachers have tough timesand Programme Managers are there to help you find solutions or just to listen. Above all, Now Teach exists to support career-changers as they qualify and become a teacher, and wellbeing is central to that. 

 

Other resources 

We would recommend the following resources for anyone looking for additional support during their training year and beyond.    

Education Support - the only UK charity dedicated to improving the health and wellbeing of teachers, teaching assistants, headteachers, lecturers and support staff in schools  

Mind – a mental health charity that provides advice and support to anyone experiencing a mental health problem 

 

For more advice on teacher wellbeing, check out this blog from Carmel Greene, Director of ITT at Inspiration Trust, and Terri Slater from Ark Teacher Training.   

If you are concerned about balancing teaching and parenting, read this blog by Dr Emma Kell.