Updates from a School Rep

Colleagues,

Martyn recently sent this to the members at his school and has allowed me to copy it to you. I think it is a helpful approach by a school rep and thank him for it.

Chris

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Please take the time to read through these brief notes. I have been on a course for two days and am delighted to announce that I am now a stage 3 accredited caseworker for the NASUWT. I can now attend to member’s issues involving disciplinary procedures, grievance procedures and capability procedures as well as all the other things I do on your behalf.

I am mindful that many staff in this school are reluctant to take industrial action for a plethora of reasons. On October 1 this year, there was a planned day of action which was supported by most of our members (some actually went to the rally in Sheffield.) However, there were about 14 who came into school and did not support their union.

Staff are free to belong or not to a trade union and for your benefit I have outlined the main teachers’ unions below, one of which has a no-strike policy that might better suit the needs of some of our staff.

ATL

ATL members I believe used to have a no-strike policy but in April 2011, members voted overwhelmingly to ballot for strike action over changes to teachers’ pensions.

Voice

Voice believes in the power of negotiation to protect the interests of members – who never resort to industrial action. Their membership department is on 01332 378 008 or email at membership@voicetheunion.org.uk.

NUT

Currently the NUT are taking part in joint industrial action with the NASUWT

NASUWT

The NASUWT is offering free membership for the remainder of 2013 for any teacher joining the Union and agreeing to provide direct debit details at the point of joining for the payment of future subscriptions. To take advantage of this membership offer, teachers can either join online or make one hassle-free call to the membership team on 0121 457 6211.

The two largest teacher unions, the NASUWT and the NUT, representing nine out of ten teachers welcomed confirmation that the Secretary of State was willing to discuss a basis for genuine talks on the unions’ trade disputes on teachers’ pay, pensions, workload and conditions of service and jobs. In response to this, the NASUWT and NUT agreed to suspend the planned national day of strike action which was scheduled to take place in the Autumn 2013 term.

However, it now transpires that in a letter of November 6 from Michael Gove, that he has resorted to provocation rather than enter into meaningful talks to seek resolution of the trade disputes. (He wants other members of his department to meet us instead and has invited Unions that have no dispute with him and he also wishes to include EDAPT which is a Gove funded anti-union organization, in addition he has said he won’t talk about some of the most important issues!!!!!!) Both unions therefore have confirmed their plans for a potential national strike no later than February 13 2014.

I am pleased to re-send these top ten tips to help colleagues with the main bugbear of all teachers, stress. (thanks to the Guardian)

1) Practise mindfulness: There is a strong scientific evidence backing mindfulness as an effective tool to support wellbeing. It affects the brain patterns underlying day to day anxiety, stress and irritability. It’s about seeing our thoughts as events – a bit like clouds in the sky – and observing them with a friendly curiosity as they drift by.

2) Force people to go home: At some schools, the head locks up the school at an earlier time forcing people to go home.

3) Identify what’s making you stressed: Before you can tackle stress you need to know what is stressing you out. Write a list detailing all the things that are causing you stress and divide your list into two columns: things you can control and things you can’t. Now focus on finding solutions for the things you can control.

4) Don’t get bogged down by the small stuff: I think we sometimes get bogged down by the workload and forget the joy of teaching. Try to take one day at a time. It might sound corny, but it’s very true – don’t sweat the small stuff.

5) Talk about stress with colleagues: Schools need to encourage a dialogue about workload and stress management. We carried out a couple of surveys into well-being and stress a couple of years ago and the head set up a staff care group that met once I think.

6) Begin your day calmly: Sit for two minutes before your pupils arrive in the morning and play some relaxation music. Take full deep breaths. Visualise the day ahead going as well as possible and see yourself choosing to respond with calm to each child, teacher and situation that you are faced with throughout the day.

7) Set realistic targets: I used to go into work at the start of the day and think ‘right, I’m going to mark a set of books, plan five lessons for year 8 and organise this theatre trip. In reality I’d get five books marked, one lesson planned and not even think about the theatre trip. Try having a to do list for each day. Make realistic targets and at the end of the day, think carefully why these are incomplete. Add things you do during the day to the to do list and cross them off when they are done. The ‘done list’ at the end of the day will make you feel better than the ‘to do list’ at the start!

8) Prioritise: Make a list of the things that are important to you and decide when you are going to give them some time. This is not just a work list, your family life and interests are also part of your priorities. This will help you to decide if it is more important to take your children to the cinema, or to prepare a lesson in more detail because you are being monitored.

9) Say no: Tell people firmly and politely that you won’t have time or be able to do something at work. This could be your line manager, or it could even be your class. Both of them will respect you for telling the truth. Head teachers are not impressed by someone who says yes all of the time, they are just grateful that someone is willing to over-work.

10) Take a step back: Remember, you may enjoy it, but school is work. It’s great to enjoy your job, which means that at first you won’t resent all the extra time you put into it. But if you keep on putting that extra effort in, you will start to resent it, and so will the people around you.

Hope this helps

Martyn

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