Your most precious resource: yourself

You can catch Dr Emma Kell at our School Leaders’ Summit 2021 at her workshop, Modelling a culture of well-being (staring with you!)

With shameless bias, I believe that our profession is the most noble, the most rewarding and the most exciting one to which I could have chosen to dedicate 2.5 decades and counting. As natural givers, those attracted to our profession are motivated, fundamentally, by the desire to make a difference; to leave the world a better place than we found it.

With this profound drive come certain risks and pitfalls. In my 15 years of research into teacher wellbeing and work-life balance, I have encountered hundreds of examples of teachers and leaders hitting ‘rock bottom’ (Dr Karen Edge, UCL) – giving to others to the point where they have neglected their own needs on such a fundamental level that the consequences can be at best professionally damaging and at worst, personally catastrophic.

What drives us to the point where we are failing to meet our most basic needs for food, the toilet, fresh air and time with loved-ones? At which point does the ‘ordinary’ stress that we expect with this ‘never boring’ job become untenable and unsustainable? How can we recognise in ourselves the signs that we are tipping into the danger zone of neglect of self- and loved-ones?

With our recently published book, A Little Guide to Teacher Wellbeing and Self-Care, Adrian and I assert that each of us has more control that we might imagine when it comes to looking after ourselves and making choices that will have a positive impact on our wellbeing and self-care. We further assert that by making minor tweaks to our routines and interactions, we can positively influence those around us – giving them in turn permission to put their self-care first. We believe that you, as leaders, as teachers, and above all as whole human beings, are your most precious resource of all – so self-care is not optional; it is essential.

The strategies and approaches I will share on 18 March are rooted in the very latest research on teacher wellbeing and focus on the school leader both as someone with the biggest potential impact on others’ happiness and self-efficacy and as potentially the most vulnerable to stress and burnout. You will be reminded of age-old wisdom and introduced to fresh models and approach that you will be able to implement today – with little or no cost and little time commitment – and which will genuinely make a positive difference to your school’s culture.


Dr Emma Kell has over 20 years’ experience as a teacher and leader at middle and senior level. Emma works as senior teaching fellow at UCL’s Institute of Education and as an English teacher and Teaching School Lead role for Aspire AP, a PRU in Bucks. Emma speaks regularly on well-being, recruitment and retention and writes for a variety of publications including TES and BBC Teach. Emma has completed a doctorate on teacher well-being and work-life balance at Middlesex University. Emma is author of How To Survive in Teaching (Bloomsbury, 2018) and A Little Guide For Teachers: Wellbeing and Self-Care.


You can catch Dr Emma Kell at our School Leaders’ Summit 2021 at her workshop, Modelling a culture of well-being (staring with you!)

How can you best look after your most precious resource – yourself? How can you balance self-care with actively promoting positive wellbeing through the school community? What tools and strategies can you take and use in school today and embed with minimal cost or time as part of your culture.

Practical, pragmatic strategies based on 15 years of research and tailored to take on the most recent developments.