STAFF BLOG: A pause in which to enjoy the spring

English teacher and mother-of-two HELEN MARS reflects on a new way of working which offers lots of positives and an opportunity to restore work-life balance 

ALTHOUGH this is an unexpected and difficult time, it's also a great chance to explore remote working and learning.

There are lots of positives: being able to work at your own pace, not having to commute and honing your ICT skills. Undeniably, remote working has some challenges, requiring self-motivation, perseverance and resilience.

A week into this in the Mars household, we're starting to create some shape and routine with two teachers teaching remotely, one six-year-old being home-educated, and an enthusiastic toddler to disrupt all of the above.

Here are a few tips and thoughts:

Set boundaries, literal and psychological. Have a routine and set times to work - switch off your device for defined times and don't feel obliged to react to every notification.

Have a set space to work or study, removing distractions and gathering all the books, stationery and other equipment you need. This is useful for children and adults alike!

Develop good work habits, making sure you keep neat notes, complete work in full, print and stick everything in, and take pride in what you create. The work you do at home has been set to help you develop subject specific knowledge and skills but also more generally to prepare you for later study, university and work.

There is time to experiment with new apps and methods, like Microsoft Teams or Share Point, that will stand you in good stead for years to come.

Lastly, this is a great opportunity to reassert some work-life balance. Take time to set smart targets and goals, whether that is to do 30 minutes of exercise each day, create a recipe book to take to university, follow a MOOC or online course, complete your EPQ, or just read widely.

Spend time in the garden and enjoy the spring and the mental space this pause allows us.

Keep healthy, keep cheerful and keep reading!