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Keep Your Cool in School

It’s a new school year and teachers across the UK are applying their creativity, passion and determination to give young people the best start in life. However, this time of year can also be very stressful, so we’ve popped together some top tips for staying cool in school.

Plan your day

This may seem like obvious advice to teachers, who are well known for lesson plans, structured approaches and following the curriculum, yet planning your day goes beyond the subjects that you teach. In fact, it begins before you’ve even set off in the morning, as knowing what needs to be done between lessons can really help you to stay in control of your time.

For instance, if you need to catch up on emails, have a quick meeting with a fellow educator or tidy up an area of the classroom, fitting it neatly into your schedule will ensure that everything gets done on time. Using an app such as Google Calendar can really help here too, as its notifications are far more effective than sticking post-it notes to your desk or tying a ribbon around your finger.

Get some exercise

It’s very tempting to take the bus or drive to work, but getting up a little earlier and walking there can go a long way to energising yourself for the day ahead. Depending on how far the school is from your home and the local traffic conditions, travelling on foot could actually be quicker and will certainly save you money.

If you live a fair distance from your school and even cycling is out of the question, try to incorporate a little extra fitness into your regime, such as taking the stairs instead of the lift, walking around the classroom where possible, and getting some fresh air on the school grounds during lunchtime.

Make time for friends and family

Obviously you can’t spend quality time with loved ones during the working day, but many teachers also fail to do this properly during their spare time too. It’s very easy to go home and watch a bit of telly, only to lose an entire evening to mindless screen time.

Instead, put effort into allocating time with friends and family, as sharing stories about your days and taking part in shared hobbies will do wonders for relieving stress and lifting your mood.

Sleep is sooooooo important

You’re an extremely busy person, we get it, but not getting enough sleep will result in your efficiency taking a nosedive. When you’re properly rested, your brain works more effectively, enabling you to not only do a better job but also do it more quickly.

Set yourself a suitable bedtime and stick to it. If you can’t fall asleep quickly, we recommend downloading investing in a meditation book or app that will teach you how to regulate your breathing, empty your mind and nod off in no time.

Take a deep breath

If a lesson is proving difficult or that one troublemaker is really pushing you to your limit, remember that losing your cool can get you in trouble and also result in your students losing their respect for you.

As hard as it may be at the time, if something is stressing you out, you need to take a breath before responding. It’s not necessarily a case of counting to ten and picturing a beautiful meadow – even just a moment’s pause can prevent you from losing your cool.

Get in touch

We specialise in marketing and design for the education sector. To find out more about how we can help, get in touch at hello@bigpinkfish.com or call us on 0161 507 3365.

How to Survive Freshers Flu and Stay Healthy

Starting university is an incredible time of life, filled with new experiences and opportunities. However, with so much to see and do, all while rubbing shoulders with countless people, it’s easy to become ill or run down. To help you stay fresh during freshers, we’ve popped together some top wellbeing tips.

Please drink responsibly

You’ll have heard this on every alcohol advert ever and it really is excellent advice. We totally understand that you’ve left home and suddenly have access to tons of social events, but drinking too much and too often will take its toll in more ways than one. Aside from the obvious hangovers, excessive alcohol consumption has an effect on your organs, concentration levels, mood and even your skin, so try not to go overboard.

Another good recommendation is to have a half pint of water between each alcoholic drink and have some painkillers ready for the morning. A refreshing and detoxifying smoothie for breakfast will also go a long way to aiding a swift recovery.

Keep active

Universities have lots of sports clubs and societies to choose from, so consider joining one or two in order to get regular exercise. Other simple habits that you can incorporate into your daily routine are walking to the campus and back, taking the stairs instead of the lift, and going to the gym with friends to a schedule that fits around your studies.

Eat well

Ahh, uni life – you’re allowed to eat pizza and sweets whenever you like! Still, whilst comfort food is great, it can play havoc with your health even at a young age, leading to sluggishness and lack of focus. We’re not saying that you shouldn’t enjoy a takeaway with friends and some naughty snacks when you fancy them, but try to always buy fruit and veg when you do your shopping.

Many supermarkets have great offers on healthy ingredients too, so make time for some homemade meals as often as possible. Cooking with your housemates can also be a great way to get to know each other, plus it can be loads of fun. If in doubt, the StudentBeans website has some mouth-watering recipes that certainly won’t break the bank. Another tip is to buy frozen veg, as this will last for ages.

Factor in regular me time

Socialising is awesome and an important part of university, yet you also need to put aside time just for you. Whether it’s having a cheeky Netflix binge or, even better, reading for pleasure then popping out for some fresh air, the art of switching off and enjoying the moment will really help you to stay relaxed and mentally in control.

Make sure your body is fully stocked

The human body needs a balance of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants to function efficiently. A vitamin tablet washed down with a pint of water first thing in the morning is an excellent start, plus getting plenty of fibre and other natural goodness through a balanced diet will keep you full of energy. Other supplements can also help, but make sure to check with your doctor or pharmacist first.

Sleep is so important

Whoever said that sleep is for the weak must have bags under their eyes the size of the big blue ones you get from Ikea. A good night’s slumber enables your body and mind to recharge and fix any small problems that may have arisen, such as aches, stiffness, lethargy and low mood. Ensuring that you always get the right amount of sleep is imperative to a healthy first year – too little will leave you shattered, and too much can cause you to feel a bit lifeless.

The amount of sleep that the average student requires is between eight and nine hours a night. This won’t always be possible due to assignments, revision and partying, but the more often you get your full quota of zeds, the better you’ll feel throughout the semester.

Get in touch

We specialise in marketing and design for the education sector. To find out more about how we can help, get in touch at hello@bigpinkfish.com or call us on 0161 507 3365.

Time Management Tips for Educators

Whether you teach in a school, college or university, you’re guaranteed to have a very busy schedule. To ensure that everything gets done and burnout doesn’t rear its ugly head, here are some practical time management tips to integrate into your working day.

Set achievable goals

Making sure that you have clear goals that are also realistic is the first step, as losing track of your to-do list or putting too much on your plate are recipes for disaster. The more specific these goals are, the better – rather than aiming to become a better educator, pinpoint exact areas of teaching that require improvement.

Also take into account the power of wiggle room, as a very strict timetable could be massively disrupted by unexpected events and jobs popping up.

Prioritise your tasks

Now that you’ve laid out everything that needs to be done on both a regular and long-term basis, you need to decide which are the most time-sensitive tasks and which can be focused on over a longer period of time.

Author Stephen Covey recommends placing tasks into the following categories: Important and urgent; important but not urgent; urgent but not important; not urgent and not important. Most of these are self-explanatory but some people get confused with the ‘urgent but not important’, so a good example is something that arises and needs to be done very soon, yet which can be shared with colleagues or even fully delegated to someone else.

Remove distractions

You find yourself blasting through an important task during a free period, but then someone knocks on your door or your phone rings. You deal with the interruption quickly, return to the task, and find that your concentration has taken a blow. By the end of the day, you’ve achieved far less than you would have if disturbances had been minimised.

We realise that it’s not always possible to have 100% private time as an educator, but if you save the jobs that require intense focus for periods when you can retreat to a quiet space, you’ll find that they get done far more efficiently.

Delegate where appropriate

There are a number of soft skills that will benefit your career as an educator, from adaptability and problem-solving, to creativity and a strong work ethic. Though delegation may not seem like a soft skill, it’s actually a valuable tool that enables effective time management.

The key is to see delegation as a means of allowing you to get more work done, rather than less – any small jobs that don’t really come under your remit can be passed on so that you can focus on the most important tasks.

Make time for you

Free time that’s spent doing something that makes you feel happy or relaxed is absolutely imperative. Changing your surroundings even just for fifteen minutes so that you can stretch your legs and get a little fresh air will reinvigorate you and lead to the next work session being more productive than it would have been.

And whilst some people say that sleep is for the weak, the truth is that proper rest helps the mind and body to deliver their best work. So the next time you’re feeling overwhelmed, step back for a few minutes, grab a coffee or glass of water, look out of the window and give your eyes a rest from the screen – we guarantee it will be a wise investment of time.

Get in touch

We specialise in marketing and design for the education sector. To find out more about how we can help, get in touch at hello@bigpinkfish.com or call us on 0161 507 3365.