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How to end the autumn term with positivity and happiness

Ho-ho-hopefully your staff are all jingling their way to the Christmas break, still happy and motivated? If not, don’t worry. After all, it’s been a funny old year. But, Sarah Creegan is here to help you finish the autumn term positively - ensuring your staff are happy and motivated, ready for spring.

Facing challenges

We’ll all be glad to see the back of 2020, won’t we? Move on; forget about it?

As humans, when we’re faced with challenges and uncomfortable situations, we do our best to cope and then try to block them from our memories forever more. Like that time you accidentally tucked your skirt into your undies and walked across the hall, completely unaware? No? That wasn’t you, you say. I think it was…

Once this is all over, we might want to push the pandemic into the recesses of our minds, along with our occasional knicker-flashing. But it’s not going to be as easy as that. And that’s not a bad thing. Why? Because we’ve learnt so much over the past nine months, which will help us to keep our schools happy and full of motivated people going forward.

Self reflection

Of course, it’s important to praise people and tell them what a good job they’re doing – especially at the moment. When we say ‘well done’ to an adult or child, they will usually be pleased for a little while.

However, if we want them to be truly happy, we need to ensure that they feel good about themselves and their achievements, even without any recognition. We want them to be intrinsically motivated.

The end of term always provides a timely opportunity to reflect on what went well (WWW) and things that could have been even better (EBI). As well as RAG rating your school improvement plan and doing your data analysis, why not chat as a team about the whole 2020 experience?

The Learning Pit

To do this successfully, we’d recommend using The Learning Pit. It’s a great model, as it helps people to:

  • Talk through a challenge that they were/are faced with. The most successful people are able to make links between previous learning and the current situation they find themselves in.
  • Recognise the coping strategies that work for them and others, so they have a toolbox of options in the future.
  • Understand that we develop greater skills, knowledge and understanding from being outside our comfort zone. Once we know this, we’re more likely to embrace challenges with a ‘can-do’ growth mindset.
  • Identify the emotions that we go through on a learning journey. It’s important for folks to know that all feelings are valid and useful.
  • Celebrate success; feel proud, happy and motivated to go again.

Here are some questions that you could pose to your team (or they could ask themselves):

Facing a challenge

How did you feel when you found out that you were going to be delivering online lessons?

  • Did you jump willingly into the pit, because YOU ARE a technical guru, which means that, since March, you haven’t once needed reminding to turn your mic on?
  • Did you need a bit of a nudge, because you’ve never done anything like that before and it was a bit scary?
  • Or were you shoved – by COVID, your head teacher, Boris or the knowledge that other schools were doing it?

In The Pit 

What helped you to deliver online lessons?

  • Did you have a go by practising on your family?
  • Did you find a film clip (or a teenager) that showed you how to use the platform?
  • Did you phone a friend - the same one who told you that your bloomers were on show in the hall that day?

Getting out of The Pit

Nine months on from Lockdown 1.0:

  • Have you achieved your target? Or did you exceed it and, if so, how?
  • Now that you are back in the classroom, have you used technology more confidently or creatively? If you haven’t already, check out these Augmented Reality resources from our friends at Twinkl.
  • What do you know now, that you didn’t know before? And how will that help you in the future?

What now?

  • With so many things going on at the end of term, make your Learning Pit chat a priority. Maybe during your final online staff meeting while tucking into mince pies?
  • Remember, like puppies, The Learning Pit isn’t just for Christmas. Diarise the same activity for the end of the spring term.
  • There’s plenty more where this came from! If you’d like other ideas on how to create a Happy-Centred School, just give us a ring.
  • On the 16 December (or whenever you break up), switch off in the knowledge that the team at Laughology are wishing you a very merry Christmas and a happy, healthy, successful 2021.
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Are organisations and companies just paying lip service?
Join some of the most interesting and respected voices in positive psychology for our Our Big Chat about…Thinking outside the tick box, inaugural webinar. Our two and half hour interactive event will look at the best mental health strategies for organisations, identifying what works and what doesn’t.

Dave McPartlin:

Dave is the Headteacher of Flakefleet Primary School.
Creating the right environment for people and communities to flourish

Sunita Hirani

Sunita is one of the BBC’s key equality, diversity and inclusivity experts.
Why inclusion is essential for mental wellbeing

Professor Sir Cary Cooper

Cary is one the world’s most influential voices in occupational health and wellbeing.
Enhancing Mental Wellbeing at Work. Evidence based strategies for creating a wellbeing culture at work.

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