What is it?
... a completely flexible programme of practical support developed to help individual teachers, teaching teams, teaching assistants, Head Teachers and support staff, to manage the unique and ever-changing pressures of your school and its demanding community.
It works by...
... utilising a combination of one-to-one and group coaching, training workshops and short training interventions to create a pragmatic plan to manage and meet the objectives of your organisation and its community as a whole.
Teachers 1st can help you:
- Protect against burnout
- Manage the emotional strain of your job
- Re-engage with your abilities
- Capture and celebrate your successes
- Create new and helpful automatic responses to stressful situations
- Meet the unique demands of your school
- Supercharge your career progression
5 all too familiar teaching facts
1. Teaching is a stressful profession!
2. Boundaries, rules & expectations constantly change!
3. Certain words, such as; targets, inspections, procedures etc., create unpleasant emotional responses!
4. You can feel extremely lonely, even in a big team!
5. You love 'what' you do, but you don’t always love the ‘how’ you are told to do it!
How to access Teachers 1st
Teachers 1st is a programme developed and delivered by Jeff King, our founder. You can contact him directly for a FREE, no commitment discussion by calling him on 07905 240926 (D) or 020 79 79 20 40 (Office).
Why did I launch it?
Teachers have been amongst the group of people I have coached for a number of years now, and many issues consistently reared their heads during the coaching process which I felt I could help more with. A growing despondency with the profession and how it was being managed, broken promises and public humiliation were constant themes during my coaching sessions. The sorts of comments being made to me were:
- "The career I once adored, is vanishing from my view".
- "I feel under constant attack from all angles, and worst of all my Head Teacher doesn't seem to care".
- "My confidence has been shattered by a very public slating of my profession".
- "My vocation has turned into a business, and nobody seems to care".
- "I still love what I do, because I care passionately about the children, but I'm not sure how much longer I can take the stress of constantly looking over my shoulder".
- "I'm not the only one who feels like this, my whole team feel under sustained threat".
Obviously I wanted to help, and in order to do this I needed to witness this environment, that was being described to me by my clients in an increasingly negative way, for myself. However, at the time I wasn't able to allocate the time and energy a project of this nature demanded, so I continued working on a one-to-one basis.
Then two things happened that turned my natural curiosity into determination to help.
The first was watching my own daughter’s three year journey through her degree course. I was expecting the stereotypical university saga of socialising, interspersed with a bit of study. How wrong was I! I can honestly say that it was completely the other way around. This three year period was intense, very intense. Whenever I saw her she had her head in a book or researching on the internet. No days off from university, and if she wasn’t at the university she was at a school adding practical experience to the learning. So, this really was a full-time course, in every sense of word.
The stress was tangible. Needless to say (as her dad) I was worried, but I was also pleased I was in a position to help. Given my background in the psychology of learning and my coaching and training experience I could help in a very practical way.
If it wasn’t stressful enough observing the former scenario, it certainly didn’t prepare me for her first year as an Newly Qualified Teacher (NQT). Watching your own child navigate the treacherous waters of contradiction, changing expectations, diminishing self-belief and in some cases bullying by parents was very painful. Fortunately, she had her own personal coach on hand, and I was able to help her navigate that very difficult time where self-belief evaporates and despondency sets in.
This jolted me into action as I knew she wasn’t the only one who felt like this. Then a chance conversation with a Head Teacher, who fortunately had previous experience of being coached, led to me being invited into her school to discuss the viability of providing coaching to her team.
I spent at least one day a week, during the summer term working with the entire teaching team, the head teacher and even spent time with the Board of Governors.
At an individual level - participants became more aware of their own behaviours, recognised the triggers for those behaviours and as a result were able to then act differently when confronted wih potentially difficult situations. They became proficient in 'noticing' how they were feeling - before, during and after an event. They took responsibility for how they reacted to their emotions and now have control over those emotions. This shift created space to tackle issues such as fear, loss of confidence, self doubt, envy, low self esteem etc. People who prior to the intervention, saw themselves at a low and unworthy level, suddenly became hopeful, engaged, willing to take on new responsibilities and in some cases are now embarking on further studies.
At a team level - particpants became more aware of how their attitude affected team results and that they could actually add value to team situations; that their opinions were not only sought, but relevant and useful. Particpants learned, and put into practice management techniques. Written agreements (in the form of charters) were created as a way to determine new ways of working openly, honestly, commitedly and in an interdepenent manner.
At a 'whole school' level - participants began singing off the same hymn sheet. The school ideals were now being shared widely by teaching staff, pupils, governors, and were finding their way through to parents. These ideals are being recognised as helpful, especially in providing focus for behaviour and have also been identified as the basis for creativity, development and success.
I should make it clear that these ideals, which have Guy Claxton's 6Rs at their core, were already in place before I worked with the school, but I used them extensively as a reference point; this helped to embed them further in the teaching team's minsdet, and as result became more of a starting point, rather than an accidental outcome.
The overall results were extremely positive, with significant shifts in attitude, awareness, engagement and performance.
For the example above, I did a brief presentation at the start of term INSET day. Following this, all members of staff were offered the chance of being coached. There was a 99% take-up rate at that point, which reduced to 97% after coaching got underway.
The majority of sessions were conducted on a one-to-one basis. This helped to establish trust, develop goals, build confidence levels and enabled particpants to practice new skills, discuss the outcomes, make changes, try again and then repeat the process.
The last five weeks worth of sessions were then conducted in a *sub-team environment (for three weeks) before finishing with whole team workshops (for final two weeks).
Whilst this process enabled individual goals to be addressed it did so with an eye on the whole school context.
The school is now moving to the next level which is built around a twice per month format, where they are looking to build on the first tranche of work by continuing the development of individuals and teams, creating closer alignment with Personal Development Plans, which will also help with the management of the 'appraisal' system, and more focused work with the Head Teacher on management development issues.
*Sub-team = teaching assistants and teachers separately