Are you a supply teacher, teaching assistant or residenital support worker looking for some help and advice? If so, you are the right place. Our blogs offer tips and tricks on everything from classroom management to interview tips and support, along with day in the life case studies from real supply teachers, NQTs and cover supervisors. They also give you an insight into what working for Smile is like, the ways which we support local communities and charities and the training and events that we offer.
Know your worth – probably the most important reminder for teachers
My reason for wanting to write about self-worth and self-value is down to the observations I have made and the experiences I have of working with teachers,
a) in my role as a headteacher and b) in my role as well-being and mindset coach for teachers.
Whilst, I agree that teachers are burdened with work pressures which at times reach incomprehensible measures. I also believe there is an internal locus of control that a teacher can exhibit to ensure that they are protecting their own needs. For all teachers that come to me for coaching, self-care is always the starting point. The premise of self-care is self-love and self-worth. You must believe in the first instance that you are an important person who deserves to be cared for. Otherwise, self-care tips serve a futile cause.
As Teachers, you make a difference all day, every day! Your value as a teacher is unquantifiable. You know the relationships you have with the children that you teach, the impact you have, the way that you can connect and encourage the children, often just with the look or gesture you give. You can’t measure the impact that your being has on the children that you teach. Your value is exponential within society and the difference you make to children who become active citizens within our society know the difference you made to them.
You provide knowledge, wisdom and inspiration and the value of that is simply… priceless!
“Teaching is a tough job. It can be immensely rewarding but also physically and emotionally draining. Safeguarding and mental health issues can be intense and complex. Children’s behavioural and emotional problems are increasing. Many schools recognise this and provide support for their staff.”
Professor Peter Fonagy,
CEO of the Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families
You are everything to everyone! To the children, you are nurse, carer, social worker, special needs teacher, social worker, mediator, behaviour specialist and subject expert!. To your colleagues, you often serve as a dependable and reliable friend, leader, doer, sharer, giver, friend, counsel, and for the parents, you act as a beacon. The font of all knowledge, the co-parent in their absence, the enlightened one.
For so many teachers I coach, I notice a common theme… teachers are so busy being everything to everyone that they have forgotten who they are. Those teachers who are mums and wives? Their guilt factor is truly off the scale!
Why when we have so much value, when we give so much of ourselves that we lose ourselves, the person that we should put first, we put last on this long list? Is that really good enough? What are we unconsciously telling ourselves on a daily basis?
With the multiple masks/hats, you wear daily and with the barrage of responsibilities you withhold in school and outside of school, you still manage to maintain passion and commitment for the children – you are extraordinary individuals! Your worth is immeasurable.
Society knows this (I believe), but do you, teachers?
Imagine, how different could things be, if you enforced boundaries, created life-work balance, said “no” without fear of guilt, had more time for yourself and found balance? The magic word… balance!
Well, you can. However, it all starts with self-care and knowing your worth. This is my starting point with all teachers who turn to me for coaching, so I say this with confidence and evidence, that all teachers need to make time to self-care and they must do this with commitment and from a place of genuine self-love.
How do you know your self-worth?
When you are comfortable with who you are. Comfortable with your weight, height, and everything that makes you, you! You are confident in the work you deliver and your sense of professionalism. You like and have a great relationship with most people in your life, including your colleagues.
Self-worth is your understanding of your qualities, your strengths, and your personal attributes. Your Sense of Self-worth is a measure of how you value yourself. Self-worth is being able to feel good about yourself with no influence from another person or outside source. It is all down to an internal locus of control.
Why is your self-worth so important?
Self-worth seems to shield us from many types of mental illness and emotional problems. Low self-esteem has been identified as a factor in addictions, depression, anxiety, and relationship issues. We know that mental health problems among teachers are ever-increasing. The Teacher Wellbeing Index (November 2019) published by Education Support identifies,
“In 2019, 78% of all educational professionals reported they had experienced at least one behavioural, physical or psychological symptom related to work (76% in 2018 and 75% in 2017). Just over half (57%) said they had experienced behavioural changes, half (52%) physical symptoms and just under half (49%) psychological symptoms related to work (NB respondents could have more than one symptom).”
When people don't believe in their inherent value, then food, alcohol, and other addictions seem to ease the pain. This is just a temporary measure, which provides pleasure, but once the impact dissolves – so does the pleasure, soon plunging one toward the pain again. Then, whenever they feel the worst about themselves, they return to it or fall deeper into seeking out pleasure again. One can never overcome the effects of the habit until they develop a stronger sense of self-worth.
Having healthy self-worth not only helps prevent poor mental health, but it also has many other positive benefits, too. When you value yourself no matter what circumstance you're in or who is around you, you can have what you need and more. You can be your best and do your best. You can have the best quality of life possible.
What are some of the benefits of having self-worth?
You can have your needs met
Everyone has needs. There are two ways to get your needs met. First, you can reach them yourself. To do that efficiently, you need to be able to value yourself enough to justify putting in the effort to meet them yourself. Secondly, you can ask someone to help you with having your needs met. The latter may lead you to continue relying on others for support.
You can solve problems confidently
Everyone deals with problems. Problems come up at work, at home, and in the community. When these difficulties arise, a poor sense of self-worth usually leads to feelings of being overwhelmed and unable to cope. However, when you have positive self-worth, you're more likely to accept the challenges life offers you. It's easier to find the strength to see the difficulty as a learning experience and something you can perceive as a teachable moment.
Make decisions with conviction
Making decisions for some people can be incredibly challenging if you have poor self-worth. You may doubt your knowledge or ability to judge the situation. You may worry about what will happen if you make the wrong choice and feel that the probability of that happening is very high. I hear this a lot from teachers that I coach. Once you find healthy self-worth within yourself, you can reason with your decision and make the best possible choice which is carefully considered, but independently made.
Have More Honest Relationships
You can have more honest relationships when you have a higher sense of self-worth because you don't feel the need to hide who you are. Relationships of someone who values themselves, in turn, become more honest and one gains a sense of feeling valued in return. If the other person in the relationship acts up, you care enough about yourself to deal with it honestly rather than letting it slide. You won't put up with an unhealthy relationship for long, but if the relationship can be salvaged, your ability to find solutions will serve you well.
You have realistic expectations
People who value themselves highly don't demand perfection of themselves. Why? Because they are so in tune with themselves that they know perfection isn't a realistic goal for anyone! They don't feel threatened by the knowledge that they and others will make mistakes or that the world they live in isn't always safe and reliable. They look forward to opportunities which enable them to learn and grow rather than self-criticise.
You become more resilient
Valuing yourself makes you more resilient to setbacks and enables you to bounce back quickly enough. When you think poorly of yourself, you're more likely to feel devastated by failures and losses. They may take on an incredible amount of importance to you, even if they're minor. When you feel good about who you are, you never feel like a failure even after something you've done went wrong. When bad things happen, you deal with them, bounce back and move on.
How to Improve your self-worth?
Consistent effort and taking action is the premise to start from. It takes effort and possibly some additional support to make this monumental change, but pays dividends.
Here are a few examples for increasing your self-worth.
Positive affirmations can be very beneficial tools. The right way to use affirmations when you're starting out with low self-worth is to make them positive but believable to you.
Do what you love
This is one of my favourite statements.
How you spend your time shows where your priorities are. If you want to build your self-worth, do what you love and enjoy knowing you're going after your passion. Be happy doing, what you love doing.
The better you get at accepting compliments, the more easily you can boost your self-worth.
Stop criticizing yourself
Sometimes, we're so worried about being criticized that we criticize ourselves before anyone else has the chance. We point out all our flaws and invite negative comments and feedback. Then feel even worse!
Find the good in yourself
Rather than defining yourself by the mistakes that you make, try attributing credit for all the things that you do well.
Be particularly mindful with your self-talk
Speak to yourself in a way that you would, if you were speaking to your 5-year-old self, with love and affection.
Coaching sessions can help you deal with the thoughts that are fuelling your low sense of self-worth. Once you identify the thoughts, you can take positive steps to replace them with more helpful ideas. Coaching can provide you with the mental tools to apply in building your inner worth and self-confidence.
By the end of the process, you will have a number of strategies which gives you the internal resources to feel empowered, know your worth and live the life that you deserve.
Get in touch about the 5-session breakthrough programme I offer. email@example.com
Suneta is also a certified Master Practitioner in NLP, Timeline ® Therapy and Hypnosis and offers breakthrough programmes, using modern mind tools and can assist you in making positive changes and taking control of your thoughts.
To support the teaching and support staff at Smile Education through this difficult time, Suneta is offering a free 30-minute coaching session. If you would like to take advantage of this offer or enquire about any of Suneta’s other services then get in touch directly.
Be sure to look out for Suneta’s updates in Operation Smile.