Checking in with Elliot Morgan
This week we’re chatting with Elliot Morgan. Elliot is an Assistant Headteacher for Teaching, Learning and Assessment in the primary phase of an all-through school in London. He is also an Evidence Lead in Education for London South Teaching Hub and an Early Career Framework Facilitator for Teach First.
Find him here on Twitter.
What does well-being mean to you?
I find that well-being can be overcomplicated sometimes. It simply means ‘being well’, both mentally and physically. So, I see well-being as a state of contentment and happiness.
What’s one habit that improves your life?
I never used to enjoy reading but now I do. I often found it difficult to make time for it, despite it making me feel relaxed and contributing positively to my well-being. So, I started partnering it with another habit – my morning coffee. I now read maybe 15/20 pages every morning while I enjoy my coffee and it sets me up well for the day.
What one thing makes you the happiest?
A good film. Anything that offers complete escapism. When I am truly captivated by a good film, I find myself completely immersed in it and forgetting about the real world.
What helps you to feel healthy?
I go to the steam room and sauna at my local gym a couple times a week. Not only does it sweat out the bad stuff, but it provides me with a time to collect my thoughts and reset. I always come out feeling more relaxed.
What do you wish you had known when you started your career?
That teaching is just a job. I do see it as a vocation, but it is built up to be more than it is. As it requires a lot from us, we can find ourselves going above and beyond to make sure demands are met. Sometimes you need to take a step back and consider if what you’re doing needs to be done or if it actually has any measurable impact.
Secondly, that if I am struggling, there is always someone I can reach out to. It may not be someone in my school, but someone from a different school or someone online.
What are the most interesting challenges you need to solve in your current role?
My leadership role brings a lot of responsibility. The most interesting challenge is trying to balance my own workload while supporting staff with theirs, including four newly-qualified teachers. A huge part of this is trying to reduce workload anywhere we can.
In education, what needs to change soon?
Workload. If it persists at this rate, we will never remedy the issue of teacher retention. As I write this, there is a new survey going around that suggests 44% of teachers plan to leave teaching within 5 years due to workload issues.
What’s the best CPD you’ve done?
Making a Twitter page. That has introduced me to incredible books on education, led me to weekend conferences, presented me with best practice and enabled me to build a network of knowledgeable and supportive friends.
What personal project are you most excited about right now?
I am writing my own book on task design. Although it is a labour of love and I am not getting much done.
What’s something people in your professional world might not know about you but find interesting?
Perhaps that I sort of fell into teaching. I didn’t grow up wanting to be a teacher. I did Politics at university and spent most of my course having no idea what career I wanted to pursue.
What's the best piece of advice you have ever been given?
If there is nothing you can do about something, then you do nothing. Do not dwell in the past or on things outside of your control, because you cannot change them. You can only change what comes next.
Can you recommend a Twitter account we should check out?
Adrian Bethune always shares a lot of useful tips around mental health and well-being.
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The Check-In is put together by the team at Mindfuel. Mindfuel produce fun, engaging well-being programmes for KS1 & KS2, providing teachers with everything they need to confidently teach well-being skills for positive mental health.