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How to keep positive in the spring term - mojo, BoJo and Dojos

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Staying positive during the spring term might seem impossible right now, but Laughologist and former headteacher, Sarah Creegan, has got some tips to help you get your mojo back.

Losing your mojo

Hands up if you’ve lost your mojo? 

You’re not sure where you’ve put it. It’s probably with all the other missing things from the past few months. Like your oomph, your memory, your glasses…

With all of the hope that the New Year and the rolling out of vaccines promised, the news that we were heading into another national lockdown rendered some of us a bit mojo-less. With juggling online learning, while supporting key workers’ and vulnerable children on-site too, that’s both understandable and okay - for a little while. 

 But, as we’re likely to be in this situation for quite a bit longer, it’s really important that you now have a good look around and find your mojo - we recommend you check down the back of the sofa!

Finding your mojo

According to the Cambridge Dictionary, your mojo is: ‘A quality that attracts people to you and makes you successful and full of energy.’ So, it’s time for some self-knowledge…

 What draws people to you?

 Maybe you love a good chuckle with your class when they’re sitting in front of you. Or perhaps you’re a great role model for having a growth mindset; the first one to put your hand up when you make a mistake? 

 But, with the awareness that parents may be listening in to online lessons, you’ve all-of-a-sudden become unrecognisably serious and only sent out pre-recorded sessions at the 10th attempt, because you fluffed your lines on 1-9.

 Whilst teaching is a caring profession, at the moment it might help you to care a little less. Especially about what others may or may not think! Try these:

  • Stand up and walk around to deliver your online lessons, rather than sitting down and ‘looking professional’. This will create more energy and give kids a giggle every time you walk out of shot and then remember and scuttle back.
  •  Have a laugh if you get tongue-tied. Let’s face it, some of the funniest and most memorable telly and YouTube moments, come from people getting things wrong. Who knows, if you are recording your lessons and you drop a clanger or fall over as you dash back into shot, you might be able to profit, if you share it. And, whatever it is that you’re trying to teach, they’ll definitely remember it.
  •  If you’re pre-recording, be happy with the first attempt. In the good old days, with 30 children in front of you, you didn’t have several goes until it was perfect, so you don’t need to now. The more you try, the less natural and more stilted you’ll become. Be brave: record, send and move on.

Focus On The Positives (and worry less about Gavlar and BoJo)

I’m not sure if anyone refers to our Prime Minister as ‘BoJo’ any more? Although Gavin Williamson has been called many names over the past 9 months - most of which would make your elderly aunt blush!

 The P.M. and the Secretary of State for Education (still Gavin, at the time of writing) have had a massive impact on what has and hasn’t happened in schools, since last March. Particularly in terms of making decisions, or not making decisions, or waiting for Nicola Sturgeon to pre-empt their decisions. For anyone working in schools, this has been highly frustrating and stressful, to say the least! 

When we’re anxious, or just bloody cross, it’s very easy to get caught up in a negative cycle of behaviour. If we FLIP our negative thinking to positive:

  • It helps us to be mentally stronger; better able to cope. 
  • We will contribute to a ‘can-do’ team spirit, which is super important in schools right now. 
  • The children in our class, and our own if we’re home schooling, will feel reassured. 

So:

  • Accept that decisions will be made that you can’t do anything about. Rather than feeling ‘done unto’, work imaginatively within the current restrictions. Focus on the things that you can influence, so that you regain a sense of control.
  • Find the positives in every situation. Know that there will always be some and ask others to help, if you’re struggling to see them at the moment.

Be Kind To Yourself (give yourself a Dojo)

Even from a distance, you’ll be thinking about all of the ways in which you can keep children motivated. You might be sending out positive feedback via email, giving thumbs ups and praise on video chats or carrying on with the class Dojo rewards.

Of course, you also need to feel great about what you’re doing. When we feel happy, energised and pleased with what we’ve achieved, our bodies release lots of lovely chemicals that give us a boost and keep us going. So:

  • Treat yourself. For example, if you’re someone who loves exercise and prefers to run through woods or by water, switch off and leave school the minute you can, as there’s still about an hour of daylight for you to do that. 
  • Give yourself a break. As teachers, it is very easy to become a martyr to the cause. ‘I worked all of Sunday afternoon.’ ‘Well, I worked all of Saturday and Sunday afternoon’ etc. Of course, you need to be prepared in order to be confident but, at the moment, be realistic and make sure your batteries are charged and ready to go each day.
  • Speak about the job that you’re doing with pride. Most people aren’t out and about at the moment so, as someone who is actually allowed to leave the house and is helping to keep the country going, what you have to say is interesting. Tell your friends and family about all of the amazing things that you’re doing, not just all of the things that went wrong.  

Unless you’ve fallen flat on your face today, in front of 30 children - you have to share that!

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