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Teacher Wellbeing

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by Husna1, Apr 9, 2020.

  1. Husna1

    Husna1 New commenter


    I'm an ex-teacher and a current trainee educational psychologist. I wanted to explore whether using the Headspace app supported teacher wellbeing, and had just begun recruitment for my thesis research study when we went into lockdown. After some discussion my supervisors and I felt that now more than ever teacher wellbeing is of vital importance. I'm not sure how to attach the information letter so have pasted it below. If you'd like to take part you can follow the link here: head4all.lifeguidewebsites.org, or if you have any questions feel free to send me an email: h.kasmani@soton.ac.uk

    Thank you for taking the time to read this and take care of yourselves,

    Dear Teacher,

    We are writing to ask if you would like to take part in a research study aimed to see if a digital mindfulness intervention can reduce stress among teachers.

    We want to see if Headspace, an app which teaches techniques about mindfulness and meditation, can help reduce stress and burnout among teachers. The website is simple and easy to use - if you would like to see an example of what Headspace looks like, you can click this link to have a look: https://www.headspace.com. You will be given three months free access to Headspace if you choose to take part in the study.

    “What will I have to do?” If you take part in the study, we will get you to complete some questionnaires at three timepoints: when you sign up, after 1 month and after 2 months. Each time it will take around 5-10 minutes. You will get free access to the Headspace intervention during the study. We would also like to interview teachers about how they found using the app. If you think you would like to take part in the interviews, you can let us know on the consent form.

    “This sounds good, but I really don’t have the time”. We understand that teachers have limited time, and this will be something we are looking at in our study. Please use the app as much or as little as you feel is necessary.

    The study has been cleared by the University of Southampton ethics committee (ergo number: 53884). If you have any questions, please contact me and I will be very happy to talk with you about the study. If you would prefer, you can contact my supervisors, Dr Hanna Kovshoff (H.Kovshoff@soton.ac.uk), Dr Ben Ainsworth (ben.ainsworth@southampton.ac.uk), and Dr Charis Voutsina (cv@soton.ac.uk). This does not commit you to taking part in the study at this stage and you can make up your mind after we have spoken.

    If you think you might like to take part, please visit this website to sign up: head4all.lifeguidewebsites.org. Not everyone is eligible to take part in the study. We are looking for teachers working in UK schools. You will also be asked to complete two short screening questionnaires to check that you are eligible. If you are eligible, you will then be given information about how to access your free Headspace account.

    Thank you very much for taking the time to read this letter.

    Yours sincerely

    Husna Kasmani
    Trainee Educational Psychologist
    University of Southampton
  2. physicsfanboy

    physicsfanboy Occasional commenter

    Oooh look, an app to act as a sticking plaster.
    The best way to deal with stress as a teacher is to stop being a teacher, and go work somewhere where the managers don't treat you with such unrestrained contempt.
    bella2891, Stephap, ajrowing and 6 others like this.
  3. gold19951

    gold19951 Occasional commenter

    I’ve been using Headspace for over a year so would not be appropriate for the study, but I would like to comment on how fantastic it is and how much it has helped me. I’ve tried various forms of meditation over the years and never been able to really master it until using Headspace.
    The techniques are very simple and straightforward, not at all esoteric as one might imagine meditation to be.
    I am much more in control of my thoughts, no longer have the “racing thoughts” that have always plagued me, and I find I am able to quickly get out of negative thought spirals.
    I initially was given a code for a year’s free use of the app, but now pay each month as it is worth it.
    I would highly recommend it to everyone, not just teachers.
  4. Husna1

    Husna1 New commenter

    Like you I'm sceptical too, which is why I think it's really important to evaluate any possible interventions for teachers - rather than not having any evidence to say whether something works or not. If you're currently a UK teacher it would be great to have you take part so that we have a balanced perspective within our data.

    It's great to hear you've found it helpful! I wonder if you would consider participating in the interview part of it to find out what aspects have worked/not worked? If so, please send me an email at: h.kasmani@soton.ac.uk with some times you'd be available for a virtual interview. I'd be very grateful :)
  5. physicsfanboy

    physicsfanboy Occasional commenter

    'Interventions' should not be needed in any sane job. This kind of nonsense normalises the crazy that is UK teaching. I will not be taking part and I would discourage anyone else from doing so.
    It's like that story I read on here a few years back about a school that was hiring a counsellor specifically to try to prevent teachers breaking, instead of asking what was wrong with the school that kept breaking teachers.
    sbkrobson, agathamorse and PGCE_tutor like this.
  6. Husna1

    Husna1 New commenter

    It would be amazing if we didn't need interventions in teaching, but unfortunately that's beyond the scope of my short 3-year course (but perhaps an area of further study). I completely understand that the teacher stresses need to be reduced, however in the meantime it may help to find ways to support teachers through this rather than telling all teachers to quit. It's interesting also how not every teacher feels stressed and it's a shame that being a teacher you are actively discouraging others (who may benefit or find it useful for whatever reason) to participate. Anyway, I appreciate you taking the time out to share your thoughts, and hope you're staying well in these rather more challenging times.

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