2020 was a pretty rubbish year; one that left us feeling a little suspicious of 2021. New Year's resolutions may have been cast aside for a gentler approach, walking in quietly and not touching anything! However, that doesn’t mean to say we can’t learn something from the last year. There will be a few things we definitely want to leave behind and say goodbye to for good…
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The obvious one
I think it’s a given that we’d all like to see the back of Covid. This may have felt like a pipe dream during the Christmas break, but the new year brings new hope.
Stop comparing yourself to other people – and not just at work. Last year was stressful, but we all have different ways of coping. Everyone’s working hard, some just publicise it more than others.
Social media meltdowns
Unfollow those people who have managed to make a creative display board, banana bread muffins and written their lesson plans in under a week, all whilst smiling and telling you how much they love their job. In your extremely limited downtime, consuming content that makes you feel unworthy is not healthy. Put those ‘gram gremlins in the bin and focus on uplifting, positive and real people.
Travelling only from the sofa to the kitchen
Or to work and back again. Make some plans. Hope is on the horizon for travelling further afield sooner rather than later so why not whack out your Pinterest board and start planning a trip for next year? A bit of wanderlust never hurt anyone.
First, get rid of the worksheets you tucked to one side with the best intentions at the end of the year. You’ll inevitably forget all about them and just print more. Tidy desk, tidy mind. Leave behind a messy work space and start off the new year in the best way possible.
Working unreasonable hours
Sometimes, it feels like the entire nation and its papers forget how hard teachers and lecturers work, and how many hours they put in. Stop working unreasonable hours. There are more important things in life than work. Whilst teachers and lecturers are vital in keeping the country going, you, a human being, do not need to burn yourself out in the process.
Work emails on your phone
Don’t. Do. It.
Marking and planning 7 days a week
Put down that green pen – right now! It’s a Sunday. Lie in bed until your back hurts, catch up on your mid-week programmes and eat some crumpets!
In all seriousness, it can be so tempting to get all that marking and planning done over the weekend, but to be frank, you need some time for yourself. Give yourself at least one work-free day over the weekend to unwind. On another note, at least one day of the week, try to leave work before it gets dark.
Being consumed by your laptop
Accept that your to-do list will never be done. Quite liberating, isn’t it? Now get out there and get involved. For the time being, keeping in mind your college's bubble guidelines, find a way to see what’s going on in the rest of the college, it’s just as important for you and your development as a lecturer.
Finally, leave behind working during your lunch break. 2020 meant staffrooms had to operate in a different way but make the time to sit away from your computer whilst you have a break. Hey, a student may still need a word but at least you won’t get crumbs in your keyboard!
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About the author
After completing a BA in Creative Writing and a Masters in Creative and Critical Writing at the University of Winchester, Tammy worked as a Learning Support Assistant, with a focus on helping students develop their literacy skills. She then taught as an English teacher at an all-boys comprehensive school in Berkshire. Now she has turned her sights to a career in writing, with education at the heart of it.