Where do you go for personal and professional support or advice?
My husband, himself a teacher, has been my personal support for the last 23 years and is irreplaceable. Professionally I have been blessed with some amazing colleagues and we have always supported each other. At a very grim time in my professional life I was grateful for my Union who were fabulous. The Twittersphere has been huge for the last year or so for me. The worst bit of the profession has always been those who think they know it all and try to impose ways of working and those (mercifully few) who have bullied children or staff.
What strategies do you use to manage workload and protect your well being?
Wellbeing was not on the radar for the first 20 years or so of my career, but then the pressures were not so great then either. I am not in school now (I work in ITE at CCCU), but the most helpful thing my last school did was to introduce the idea of planned abandonment - if we want to introduce something different/new what will be give up (abandon) to make time for it? I have always made time for family, I love reading and the theatre and I have always had cats - do not underestimate "the presence of another beating heart" in wellbeing! I have more recently been influenced by "Eat that Frog" by Brian Tracey. it is a book on time management and although it doesn't all work for me the idea of Eating the Frog" does. Let me know if you need me to explain this more fully!
What advice would you give anyone who felt like giving up?
As far as advising anyone thinking of giving up is concerned I think I would ask them first not to make a decision in the heat of a particular moment, but, if they are sure they want to go, to plan their exit so that their dignity and self esteem can remain intact. I would also always refer them to one of the free and confidential teacher support helplines. If I knew their school/circumstances well I might also know how to coach them or help them find ways to ease the load. I am a cup half full kind of person and struggle with negativity - it perpetuates problems and makes things worse for others, so I would normally nudge those who are negative to offer solutions to the problems they see and to take control of their own classroom/environment to make it a beacon of positivity.
Sum up our profession in 5 words.
In no particular order. . . transformational, rewarding, challenging, incomparable, pivotal.