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The role of technology in practicing self-care and promoting resilience

Hear from two experts in their field as they discuss the importance and practice of harnessing these critical life skills. 

Lisa Wallis-Reep, Advisory Teacher, Social, Emotional and Mental Health Team, Babcock LDP.  Maggie Carter, Educational Psychologist (retired) and Scomis Education & Product Specialist

Overview – The role of technology in practicing self-care and promoting resilience 

Lisa and Maggie share their experiences and give you guidance about how to create a culture where self-care is embraced and embedded. They discuss the role technology can play in enabling this. 

Self-care is a key life skill that we all know we need to practice and embed into our daily routines, but how often do we practice what we preach? Self-care is so often overlooked, deprioritised due to more urgent and pressing day to day needs or put off for another day. After all we all have such incredibly busy lives. 

To engender emotional and mental health and wellbeing we need to promote and teach self-care. It is proven that in turn this can lead to an optimal learning state and contribute to greater resilience in times of challenge. It can also more generally help us to better support those around us be this our families, the children we are responsible for in school, our colleagues in the workplace or anyone else we might interact with at work, at home or in the world at large. 

Self-care is a pleasure and can be a lifesaver, find out more. 

Next steps 

Scomis has a culture which accepts people for who they are, for the qualities they bring and we try to promote self-care and wellbeing. We recognise the importance of work/life balance and family first principles as part of a healthy culture in the workplace.  So, we also recognise that technology is an inextricable part of everybody’s lives now.  It’s got lots of benefits and it comes with risks.   

We believe the culture of an organisation is as important as the products and services it provides to its customers. After all we only work with people we like, and you probably do too!  

Learn more about Scomis, our culture and values.  

Other related topics 

At Scomis, our purpose is to deliver innovative, high quality ICT services that make a difference and help our customers in schools and trusts nationally achieve their target outcomes. Learn more about us and how we might be able to help you from Debbie Foweraker, Head of Scomis.

Explore how apparently insignificant moments and gestures can have a huge impact on staff wellbeing, and in turn on effectiveness and retention of our best school staff with Dr Emma Kell, Those That Can.

In common with other sectors, education finds itself urgently addressing recruitment, retention, and continuous personal development because of multiple outside forces. Find out how investing in staff development has a positive impact with Stephen Morales, CEO, Institute of School Business Leadership.

Further reading and reference material

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Session Transcript

Good afternoon, everyone. My name is Maggie Carter and I’m delighted to welcome to you this afternoon’s session. I’m delivering together with Lisa from Babcock LDP. we’re pleased to be with you today to discuss the importance and practice of harnessing critical life skills of self-care and resilience. I was an educational psychologist for over 20 years. Now I work for Scomis, but I’m also a governor in two special schools. So, this is the sort of area that really interests me.

>> Good afternoon, my name is Lisa. I work for Babcock LDP. I work supporting schools across north Devon, supporting staff with children’s emotional health and well-being. Prior to that I was working as a deputy head teacher in a school in north Devon. It had gone into special measures by Ofsted. That was a special time for me and I learned a lot about self-care, the hard way. Also, my personal life, I’ve been a foster carer for over 12 years. Proud parent of a 22-year-old son. And my husband and myself adopted him when he was eight. So again, I’ve learned a lot about self-care. Sometimes the hard way. I’m glad to be going through that today.

>> Scomis is an organisation which has a culture which accepts people for who they are, for the qualities they bring and we try to promote self-care. We recognise the importance of work/life balance and family first principles as part of a healthy culture in the workplace. So, we also recognise that technology is an inexecrable part of everybody’s lives now. It’s got lots of benefits and it comes with risks. So, what we want to do is try and think about how we minimise the risks and maximise the benefits and the opportunities. Emma in her session earlier showed us how the implementation of the big picture does require attention to detail to make it happen. Part of that detail is to be able to pay attention to everyone’s well-being. So, we think it’s really important that we spend a few minutes just talking around our thoughts about self-care and well-being and how we promote it to our schools, our colleagues and ourselves.

LISA: It would be a good idea to talk about what self-care is. Do you have thoughts around that?

MAGGIE: I think self-care is important because it’s a life skill that we need to be able to practice and use when we need it. It’s an important life skill for resilience and also, in a school context, I think, it promotes learning. We agree, I think, that with children, unless technical services are in the right emotional and psychological place, learning is not going to be as easy for them as it could be. So, the concept of self-care promotes what you could say is an optimal learning state which sounds a bit technical, but basically, it’s about being ready to learn and if children are ready to learn, they’re more likely to learn effectively and it also means that when they have issues and challenges in their lives, they are more likely to exhibit resilience. That applies to all of us.

LISA: So, it’s an issue for ourselves as adults as well. When we’re supporting the children and young people, who are having sometimes some quite challenging times, particularly during the last couple of years. It’s something that we all really need to think about for ourselves, if we’re going to be robust enough to be able to look after those children.

MAGGIE: That’s true. Have you to start with yourself. I think speaking personally, it’s sometimes difficult to think that. You have a sense that you have to look after everybody else. But actually, you have to look at yourself first.

LISA: Yeah, I couldn’t agree more. I guess as helpers, we’re working in helping professions. I guess the people that go into that work are often people that want to help very much, but sometimes it can be at a cost to yourself, can’t it?

MAGGIE: Yeah, the other thing about the culture in a lot of work maces but specifically in schools since that’s what we’re familiar with, is that you have to be the strong person. You have to be the one that takes everything on board and deals with everything. And you sometimes just need a moment to deal with what’s going on for you and you need to be – give yourself permission to do that and also be given permission, if you like, to do that by your colleagues and indeed by the leadership of the school. I think that’s part of the need to develop a different culture in some schools. Would you agree with that?

LISA: I completely agree. It starts at the top essentially. I mean, I’m aware that some people that we’re talking to will be thinking to themselves, well, it doesn’t necessarily happen in my setting. It’s something that needs to go a little bit of a way really. So, I think it would be a good thing if we could talk about how people can practice it for themselves, even if it’s not particularly given the priority, it could be.

MAGGIE: We have to be realistic about what’s possible. If you are able to make a small change and just be a bit more aware of your own needs and your self-care needs, what you may also find you can do is support your colleagues, who might also be experiencing some challenges and just need somebody to be there for them, when they need it. And similarly, with the children, it’s giving them the sense that as OK to have an issue. It’s OK to feel like you’re struggling. And actually, what we can do is we can teach you some techniques which we’ll come to in a minute. But we can also promote an approach it our relationships where it’s OK to say I’m struggling. I had an interesting experience last week. I went to a school training session and I’m not going to talk about what school it was or the circumstances. But we were having a conversation about this very issue. We were talking about challenges that some of the staff were having with some of the children. And one of the teaching assistants said to me – what I need to do when this happens is I just need to go and cry in the toilet. And what that did was it opened a conversation with other people in the group who said – yeah, I do that too or I go outside or I do this or that. It made me realise this is something that happens so often and that people do that because that’s what they feel they should do to go away somewhere privately and cry in the toilet, which is fine, but it feels like there must be other ways that we can help people to deal with that. So, I think the concept of looking after ourselves so we can look after other people, including the children that we teach, I think is a really important principle to take on board.

LISA: I quite agree. What about the role of the technology? After all, this is what this conference is all about today.

MAGGIE: I think the thing about technology is that, you know, it’s around, it will be around and I’m sure we’ll have heard of lots of things that are making us think, oh, my goodness me, by the time our children or our grand children are grown up, the world will be again completely different to the world that we grew up in and the world we’re living in now. So, it’s not going away. Speaking for myself, the amount of use of technology that I’ve seen and indeed used myself has hugely increased. It’s got a lot of benefits, hasn’t it? You think about lock down, and how many Zoom calls you had with your family and all of that sort of stuff. We wouldn’t have been able to do that if we didn’t have technology. We can be socially connected, can’t we with technology and widen our horizons and all sorts of other things that are the benefits of technology I don’t know how you feel about it?

LISA: I completely agree, because connection is really an important thing that it would be good to talk a bit more about as we go through the discussion really. I think it’s got to be about connection and things like social media, I know we are going to talk more about those things. But they can promote connection, but also, there can be a disconnect, when you’re using technology. I know sometimes, I’m sure lots of us are guilty of this, I’m sitting in a room with my partner at home. We could be having a lovely chat about how our day’s gone. And I’m sitting scrolling on Facebook or something like that. So, I think, I feel there are times when, even though this conference is all about the use of technology, that we need to put that aside and I think that’s something that will be really important to talk about as well.

MAGGIE: Yeah, I think particularly for young people, I guess, that the opportunities of social connectivity with people who are all over the world potentially is really strong. However, there’s also the risks of connectivity with people that maybe it’s not a good idea for them to be connected to. I think, it’s really easy to sort of judge and particularly you see it in the media all the time the judgment about all this technology, it’s bad. It’s bad for people. It’s bad for their emotional well-being. You know, it’s not as good as face to face. It’s different. It’s not better or worse. It’s different. We’ve got to embrace that. And use the benefits of it and just try to mitigate the risks. That’s how I feel.

LISA: I do agree with you. I guess it would be good to talk more about how we can embrace it and harness it really positively for our self-care and encourage children and young people to look after themselves. And also, how we can be balanced in our use of technology and sometimes go out for a walk in the woods and leave your phone behind.

MAGGIE: Definitely. Because I think, the other thing about the technology we talked about the social side of it, but also there’s the issue about supporting learning, this concept of optimal learning state or whatever. Actually, there is some evidence that technology can help things like brain plasticity. Because it gives you opportunities to use skills, hand-eye coordination or whatever to improve the way your brain operates and how children’s brains operate. Obviously, as a learning resource technology is second to none. If you want to know something, you type it into Google. And the ease of that for everybody and the use of technology as a learning resource is mega. But there are also negatives to do with physical effects on your well-being if you spend so much time on your screen that your vision goes awry, you’re not sleeping, you know, your cognitive processing is affected, you get anxious. There’s lots of different negatives. As you rightly say, it’s about having a balance and saying, actually, we use it and we mitigate the risks. OK Lisa, so one of the things that we’ve talked about is how important self-care is and it always begs the question, so that’s all very well accepting the principle. But how do you do it? How in a busy life, at work, at home, and everything else that we do, how do you do self-care? How do you make sure you prioritise it in a manageable and realistic way? What strategies have we got?

LISA: I think first of all, if we’re talking about our own self-care, it’s really important to know what, if we talked about green, amber, red. We have to look at it in a kind of zones of wellness, emotional wellness Nike, that it’s important to try to stay within, if you like, that it’s important to stay in the green zone.

MAGGIE: Green being where you want to be?

LISA: Yeah absolutely. Being aware when you go into the amber zone, you’re going into a danger zone. Speaking as someone who has gone into the red zone, when I was certainly when I was a deputy head, it was very stressful. You were talking about a member of staff at a school that you know, who had spent quite a bit of time going in and out of the toilet, and I probably spent about half a term to a term in a toilet, going in and out of the toilet, when I was in that situation in the school. Because it was very, very stressful. And then I had to go in there, have a break, wash my face and come out and look fine.

MAGGIE: That’s really stressful to do on a day-to-day basis.

LISA: Very much so. And I don’t think really acceptable. I think if I went back now, back in a time machine to that time, I think I would know well before it got to that stage, when I was starting to go into that amber zone, if you like. Then I’d see some warning signs and I’d take some action before that happened.

MAGGIE: Did anybody else in the school know that’s what you were doing?

LISA: No.

MAGGIE: That’s the other thing. Who was there for you, other than the toilet?

LISA: That’s absolutely right. Nobody would have known and I simply had to learn the hard way to start to take care of myself. So, I think, first of all, it’s important to think about those zones and be more mindful of where we are. So, what’s happening that’s telling you you’re starting to go into that amber zone, for example, are you drinking more? Are you getting a bottle of wine out of the fridge? Are you drinking the whole bottle or half the bottle? That’s very easy to do, isn’t it?

MAGGIE: Definitely.

LISA: Keeping an eye on that. Are you eating well? Are you eating a lot more snacks? You know, not that I haven’t done that, and don’t do that, because I do. But I’ve got to the stage where I, after a couple of days of that, I think just a minute, you know, you need to pull back a bit from this now. Because it’s not going to do you any good.

MAGGIE: It’s a level of self-awareness really of what’s pushing your own buttons. And the way you describe crying in the toilet stuff, presumably the toilet was the only space you felt safe?

LISA: It was.

MAGGIE: Doing it in the toilet isn’t great. What about other ways of feeling safe to do something like that?

LISA: I’m glad you mention that. I’ve been doing a lot of research recently and reading into a kind of safe spaces idea really. You create a safe space or place for yourself. I mean ideally, that’s something that again would go across the whole school setting, something that would be put into place by senior managers. It might be a physical safe place where you can go, where the children and young people can go, not necessarily the same place, but that they’ve got somewhere to go to have a bit a cry, take a breath, have a drink or whatever. And then, come back and feel ready to go back again. It might only be a few minutes after all. But also, a kind of a psychological safe space. And if that isn’t there, if it can’t be put into place in that setting for various reasons at that time, that you are able to create one for yourself.

MAGGIE: Yeah, I suppose it’s not just – it could be not just about a physical space, I guess. Obviously, I’m talking more about, in your personal life more than work life maybe. But sometimes just going somewhere and putting on head phones and listening to some music and taking yourself away from the situation or reading a book or going outside in the garden or something, it’s the sort of thing that people do. It’s kind of accepting that that’s legitimate. That it’s a legitimate thing to do, to take yourself away. You don’t have to keep ploughing on through the to do lists and stuff. If you need to listen to some music for 15 minutes, just to get yourself back into a better frame of mind, then do it. It’s obviously more difficult in school, with the practicalities of all the people around you, but I think the concept of having a safe space to go, which might be a physical place, is really important. I guess that’s where you start thinking about how we help children to learn about safe spaces and what one is and approaches to that including things like yoga and mindfulness. What’s your thoughts about working with children on that kind of stuff and helping them to understand it?

LISA: I think it’s really important. And recently I mean certainly in the last couple of years, I’ve talked to colleagues in schools who have been extremely stressed naturally with the situation that’s occurred. As the children started to come back, they were – I was offering a supervision. We would talk over, here’s a good use of technology, we would have a supervision conversation over Teams. Some of the things that they would talk about was that children who were coming back, I’m sure that nobody listening to this will be surprised, but lots of children coming back struggling with anxiety. And lots of behavioural difficulties for various reasons. They were saying – how can I help this child? I said what I would suggest is that you use things like yoga in your class, mindfulness, meditation, visualisation. But do it with the whole class. For starters …

MAGGIE: Rather than picking out the ones who are struggling.

LISA: For sure, because almost everybody could be struggling. They could be like me coming out of my toilet and looking fine. I wasn’t. I was good at disguising that. Naturally the children will be the same as us. If you can do something with that whole class, first of all you will catch all of those children then. You’re teaching them techniques for life. That they can take forward with them. But secondly, those children who are struggling, you’ll catch them as well. And they won’t feel different. It’s something that everybody’s doing. I’m a firm believer in that. I did suggest that. I found that when I talked again with those people in the schools, they’d started those things and were making a huge difference. As regards the learning too, because if for example they came back after lunchtime, after a break, and then they just spent just five minutes or so doing a bit of yoga or a bit of meditation or mindfulness, then for starters, that was getting those children settled back down into class again. And then also it was actually getting them into the right place for learning.

MAGGIE: Yeah, yeah. I think, because I’ve worked a lot with special schools, one of the things that has struck me is that special schools often have sensory rooms, which are rooms full of interesting stimulating light and sound etc. But they’re incredibly great chill-out spaces for anybody, including the adults. I mean, I know every school can’t have one, but the concept of a space where it’s just somewhere away from everything else, but also, as you say, teaching some mental techniques, if you like, which aren’t reliant on being somewhere else so that you can do some breathing or some yoga or just some quiet reflection, just to get yourself back in the zone. I think to give children even young children the idea that that’s OK to do and it’s allowed. You don’t have to come straight back in and do English. You can actually spend five minutes just grounding yourself. I know lots of teachers do that instinctively. I think it’s something that we can promote as much as we can. I suppose the other thing, bearing in mind the technology in this conference, what about virtual tools that can be used? We’ve talked about how we introduce things in the classroom. What about virtual tools that we’ve got to help, all of us with it?

LISA: Do you mean as adults?

MAGGIE: I mean both, adults and what can we signpost children towards. Because there might be some things more suitable to things for adults and others things that might be suitable for children. I wonder what different ideas you had about those?

LISA: OK, things like head space and calm are both really good apps that you can use.

MAGGIE: For adults or children or both?

LISA: For both. Adults or children can use those. Those are mindfulness apps. I was actually trying some of those things myself because again, I’m not going to sit and talk about things that I don’t use and try for myself. Ultimately, if I’m supporting stressed colleagues in schools, who are supporting stressed children in schools, then I need to know how to look after myself first and foremost. I tried a lot of those things at home when we were in lock down with my partner. I remember listening to Calm one day, and I really enjoyed that. He was talking about imagine you’re crossing over a road and then you sit at the side of the road and you’re having a cup of tea. You’re watching lots of traffic come past. He said mindfulness is a little bit like that. Because you’re actually standing at a distance and you’re observing your own thoughts, your feelings and your body sensations without judgment. He said just look at the buses and the cars as they go past. And just let them go.

MAGGIE: That’s interesting.

LISA: It was really helpful actually. I’ve tried that quite a lot of times. I would definitely recommend those apps. They’re very easy to access as well.

MAGGIE: I suppose the other thing we talked about the use of music and I suppose, I mean, I exercise in the mornings. Sometimes depending on the mood I’m in, I put music on and sometimes you just want some chill-out music. Sometimes you want some music to make you go faster. The chill-out music I guess you can create play lists or they exist. They exist on Spotify for this sort of stuff.

LISA: Spotify is one of my best friends. That was introduced to me by my partner. He’s a huge fan of Spotify. In fact, I was talking to him about play lists of other day. He’s been with Spotify for about ten years or more. And I’ve created in about the past six months to a year more play lists than he has, because I got to into Spotify. I have play lists like power play lists to help you feel really strong and really, again, that self-care, feeling good about yourself. Those play lists. Relaxation and calming play lists, all kinds. I really do recommend that and also, with Spotify, of course, you have podcasts. So, you can listen to different well-being podcasts. Again, meditation and mindfulness and there’s just such a wealth of good stuff on there.

MAGGIE: That’s the other thing, as we’re talking about it, you think God where do you stop? There’s so much you could spend your whole life focussing in on how to improve your mental health and well-being. But you have to get on with life as well. It is about a balance. It is about recognising that it’s got a role to play. And that our to do lists are not necessarily what drive us. We still do have to have to do lists. It’s the same in schools. We still do have to deliver literacy and numeracy and all of that stuff. I think, it’s almost feeling like you can legitimately include this kind of stuff into the day-to-day life of a school by doing what you said five minutes at a time, ten minutes at a time, finding that small amount of time, because we believe that the benefits of that small amount of time are much greater perhaps of the time that it’s taken to do it. So, I think it is about permitting this culture and I think one of the other things that we’ve focussed on when we were talking about the crying in the toilet stuff, you’re scared sometimes to show to your colleagues or to the children or whatever, or to the leadership, that you are vulnerable. We’re all vulnerable. We all have moments when we’re not as confident as we want to portray. We do feel vulnerable. Again, it’s about that being OK. And that people in a work situation can say, I’m feeling pretty bad at the moment or I’m feeling wobbly. And sharing your vulnerability and it being OK to do that and being there for each other. I mean have you got experiences of that kind of thing?

LISA: I really have. When we went into lock down, I was starting to go through a divorce. That happened during lock down, my divorce was finalised and, in my team, we were having meetings at that time through Skype. Then on Teams. And I went to one of my team meetings, and my team meetings were starting with champagne moments. And I didn’t really have a champagne moment to share that day. So, I said I’m going to tell you now that my own mental health isn’t too good at the moment. I’m struggling. And I said you know, after all, we are social emotional and mental health team. I feel that we need to be able to talk about our own mental health here. I like to think and hope that we did start to discuss it more after that time actually because in fact, when I started to be a bit more vulnerable, and I can’t say that I was – I was nervous and scared about being more vulnerable with my team in that way but in fact, after I talked about that stuff, other people in my team started to share as well, and it just opened everything up. By the time we got to the end of that meeting, we’d all decided that we would share champagne moment during other meetings if we had something to celebrate. But they didn’t have to be about that any more.

MAGGIE: No, it’s not having to be unrelentingly positive about everything all the time to cheer each other up. Sometimes you just need to say, I’m having a rubbish time at the minute.

LISA: What do they call it – toxic positivity. I think I am a positive person, but I think if I’m having a really crumby day, I will talk about having a crumby day. I will, you know, I will get angry. Because all of our feelings are normal and OK. We’re humans. I believe in that. I know you are interested as well. And her work about vulnerability I found incredible actually.

MAGGIE: We can put references out for people to follow that up. Because it is just something that we need to accept is OK. It’s not the good old British stiff upper lip stuff. We need to accept that we’re all going to have difficult times and if we can, be there for each other and permit it and model good self-care. I think you’re right, when you start taking the risk of exposing your own vulnerability, people will say. If I go back to my cry in the toilets experience at the beginning of last week, you know, once this person said that that’s what they did, other people suddenly started saying, yeah, I need to go out and have a fag. Or I do this or I do that. Sometimes I feel I shouldn’t. And it’s that kind of, well we have all these should and oughts but we need to say it’s OK to do that. Our basic message is – self-care is really important isn’t it for everybody. For ourselves, for our colleagues and for our children that we’re responsible for. And we need to find ways of incorporating it into day-to-day life in schools.

LISA: I think so. Children and young people are what you call digital natives. Technology, as you say, is here to stay. It’s not going anywhere. So, it’s a good idea for us to explore it and make friends with it and harness it where we can and then, we can help the children and young people to be able to use it for themselves but also sometimes to turn it off and go and do something else. We also need to talk quite frankly about the children and young people about that as well. It’s something that did go across, ideally across the whole setting.

MAGGIE: Yeah. It’s all about balance I guess in the end. OK. So, I think we’ve had some questions come in. But we may not have time to answer all of them. But maybe we’ve got time to pick on one? And what we can do is answer the other questions for the recording so that when you get the recording after the session, you can actually listen to the responses for all of the questions. There’s one question which I’ve picked up which I think will be really interesting given what we’ve just been talking about, which is it’s all very well if you’re in a leadership role in a school, you can promote this culture and, in a way, you set the tone for the culture when you’re in a leadership role. If you’re not, what can you do to encourage that culture and promote that culture from what might be a much less influential position but just by virtue of who you are and how you are as a person? How can we promote that culture?

LISA: I think first of all, what we need to look at is the kind of perfectionism. I’ve been guilty of that. Who isn’t in education? It’s an issue for us all. When I was back being class teacher, I’d have perhaps 29 sets of parents that were happy and then one that had something, a little complaint to make, and I would blow that up, focus on that instead of everything else that’s going well. So, I think it’s important to think about what we can control and what we can’t control.

MAGGIE: That’s true.

LISA: Again, as we’ve said, if you can just carve out a little bit of time for yourself and I know, maybe this is a really big ask, but what I did start doing when I was in that deputy head position, I did start doing this, is that I would just get up a tiny bit earlier, not much earlier, but I would just carve out a bit of time when it was quiet just for me. Even if that was ten minutes in the morning. At that time, I was doing a bit of exercise and I would find that would make the day different for me.

MAGGIE: That was enough for you to do for yourself because you weren’t necessarily in a culture where it was accepted that you did it.

LISA: Absolutely right.

MAGGIE: But you were in a leadership role. So, was there anything you could do with your colleagues to get them to accept this stuff?

LISA: So, I used to do things like, everybody had a tray in the staff room. A little tray with their name on and a drawer.

MAGGIE: I see what you mean. I thought you meant a tea tray!

LISA: They had a drawer and I used to put notes and things into their drawer or something like a little, for the women, it was largely women, because it was a primary school, I would put one of these face masks on a Friday and say you know, thanks for what you did this week. I’d do little things like that. I think don’t you call them random acts of kindness now. I’m a great believer in random acts of kindness. I really am now. I would just kind of do those things a bit then. But I know that kindness is really huge and things like gratitude, so I have a journal and at the end of the day, I could go back in my time machine back to then, I would take this back. At night, I just write a little bit in my journal for five minutes. Try to think about some good things that have come out of the day, practice gratitude. I think that’s really huge. I hope these ideas don’t sound kind of trite. I don’t mean them to. But I know in terms of my well-being, I’m taking control, taking back my well-being because it’s really important. So, I’m going to think about some things that I’ve enjoyed about the day. And if you’re focussing on the positives, not the toxic positivity, but trying to look at the good things – when you look at those there are more than you realise in a day.

MAGGIE: If you’re not in a leadership role, if you’re like a teaching assistant who works in a team of other assistants or whatever, you could still do that kind of thinking because of who you are as a person. You can have that kind of approach to your colleagues, even if or despite if the leadership isn’t in that mind set. There’s ways of enabling that to happen by virtue of the person that you are.

LISA: I think so. Because it comes back to caring about yourself enough and dare, I say, loving yourself enough. Dare I say that. To know that you are really important and you matter. And if no-one’s going to do that for you, at the moment, then you’re going to take it back and do it for yourself. And that also might mean putting a couple more boundaries up to say I’m afraid I can’t do that tonight. I have to go because I was reading a lot about, they call it, I think Emma, one of her books, she was talking about presenteeism. I hadn’t known about that term. But that feeling that you have to be there, you’ve got to be the last one in school. And that kind of thing. And you don’t have to be actually. You’ve got to try and take back your time. Because it’s really important.

MAGGIE: Yeah. And so, I think feeling that for yourself and then being available for your colleagues to just be there for them, even if the culture of the school doesn’t necessarily promote that. You can do it at a small level in a small way.

LISA: I think so. If you can find somebody that you can, kind of, give support to, like peer support, I think that can make the difference actually.

MAGGIE: That might be as far as you can go, but you hope that it might be a bit catching and other people might realise this is what you’re doing and other people might give it a go too.

LISA: I think so.

MAGGIE: Thanks Lisa. That’s been really interesting conversation. I’ve really enjoyed it. It makes you think, I’ve got to do some things differently in my life. Thanks very much for your advice. Look forward to getting other people’s questions which we will respond to.

LISA: Thank you.

MAGGIE: OK. So that’s the end of our session. It’s time now for you to pop over to the well-being bar for a quick refresh. Let us know over your link whether you’re grabbing a cup of tea or even a piece of cake or doing something creative in the well-being bar. Then join us after the break for the final session of the conference. We’ve got three sessions for you to choose from. The first one is Dave James and Anthony Lees from the corner stone academy trust. They’re going to talk about harnessing technology for collaboration across the trust, which is a really interesting opportunity that technology presents by enabling children to work across schools in different geographical locations to develop a supportive learning environment. So, they’re going to talk to you about that. Their trust is a DFE EdTech demonstrator. And so, they’ll be able to talk to you their use of Microsoft technologies to help this collaboration across schools. Or you can listen to Ian Randal from St Christopher’s multiAcademy trust talk about how they’ve achieved and consistent approach to assessment across the trust and the benefits they’ve experienced as a result. That’s all about how to join up the assessment approaches across schools and finally, you could join Elizabeth Anderson from the learning foundation and digital poverty alliance who is going to talk about digital inclusivity and digital poverty. We will recognise that during lockdown it became very apparent that there were lots of children who were not able to access the digital tools to help them with their education. That’s still an issue. And how are we going to be able to promote digital inclusivity in schools? So, Elizabeth will have interesting perspectives on that. So, while you have your cup of tea, have a think about those sessions and we’ll see you back here at 3.30pm.