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Mindfulness for NQTs: It’s OK to not be OK

by Alison Laycock

It’s ok to not be ok is a phrase employed now within Mental Health and it is certainly true. However, teachers and school staff need to model this to students to show them how true it is. Take away any judgement and simply allow yourselves and each other to be and feel whatever arises in that moment.

There will be many times during your NQT year and every year of your teaching career that follows when you don’t feel confident in yourself or your abilities, something happens which makes you question your desire to be a teacher or to continue in your current school and often when events happen in your personal/ private life, your professional life may also take a knock too.

All of this is completely natural and just because we teach and take care of many students during the day doesn’t mean we will or indeed have to be a 100% each day or each lesson. That may at some point be impossible. With teaching you will feel as if you’re in a goldfish bowl as everyone can see all that you do so a lot of the time you will also feel like you’re acting and performing. This offers us the advantage of always being able to step up to the stage and separate the other parts of us which need to be separated.

There is another aspect of it’s ok not to be ok and that is in making sure you have someone to talk to, someone who will encourage and support you, have activities to do outside of school and the school work you’ll no doubt take home. You may need to take time out and make sure you block out space to simply be you during evenings, weekends and holidays.

It’s important to know that there will be days, weeks or even months when you simply need to get through and that’s ok. Plan all you need to plan and have it all ticking over so that you can do whatever you need to do during the other times to look after yourself.

If there are more times when you feel not ok compared to feeling ok then seek whatever help you may need whether that means a doctor’s appointment, taking vitamins or chatting to a professional of some sort who you know will listen to you.

Remember though, whatever level you hold yourself to or whatever type of teacher you wish to be, it’s ok not to be ok. Although you may not wish to share your hardest times with your students and I’m not recommending that, however you will be able to share your tips for how to support yourself during those times and also how to come through them. That help is extremely important for children of all ages.

Every day throughout August, these tips will be shared across social media so I’m including my links here. Throughout August, I’m offering meditation/ mindfulness sessions for NQTS/teachers and school staff on 4th, 11th, 18th and 20th August at 7-7.45pm via ZOOM. If interested, please email Alison at

Follow me across social media if you aren’t already to have access to the tips every day:

Facebook: Being the Best You Can Be

Twitter: @alisonlaycock23

LinkedIn: Alison Laycock

You Tube channel: Being the Best You Can Be

I’m also offering 25% off all courses for NQTs who wish to develop their mindfulness and compassion skills and resources more. The courses on offer are the 8 week MBSR programme with sessions lasting 120 mins and there are also 6 week Mindfulness and Compassion courses which last 60 mins each session. If you prefer workshops rather than courses then these are also available and can be checked out and booked via

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