Hello World

Do not disturb: how to keep well when teaching with technology

June 07, 2021 Hello World Season 1 Episode 4
Hello World
Do not disturb: how to keep well when teaching with technology
Show Notes Transcript

Show notes

James Robinson:

James, stop hassling Neil cause look at the lengths he's going to avoid you notification.

Neil Rickus:

I think maybe the media, particularly here in the UK, has given the impression that schools are closed, whereas actually for a lot of teachers their working hours have increased and it's been even harder than usual.

Carrie Anne Philbin:

Welcome to Hello World, a podcast for educators interested in computing and digital making in the classroom. I'm Carrie Anne Philbin a computing educator, Youtuber, author and Zen master

James Robinson:

And I'm James Robinson, a computing educator, trainer and advocate for effective pedagogy in the classroom. I'm not quite a Zen master yet. If you want to support our show, then subscribe wherever you get your podcasts and leave us a five star review.

Carrie Anne Philbin:

Today, we're talking about well-being, specifically our everyday digital well-being, and I think whilst technology has been super useful for us as teachers. It helps us communicate with our students really quickly. It helps us talk to our colleagues. It helps us stay connected with our friends and family. Sometimes those connections can sort of blur the lines between kind of home life and work life. So today we're going to kind of dig into that a little bit more and have a bit of a chat with some guests who who are real sources of knowledge and all of this stuff. But first of all, James, I've got a question for you. What is one of your favourite digital tools that helps you stay connected at work?

James Robinson:

That's really interesting. I've just I've just come back from a period of leave, actually. So I'm sort of reacquainting myself with a couple of these tools. But we tend to use Slack a lot internally. And that's really useful for keeping in touch with my colleagues and team members, particularly now as where sort of remote working. And that's that's that's really useful. And then I think a lot of the time I'm using Twitter to communicate with people out there in the community and both those are really great tools. And over the last five or six years, I think I've really kind of learnt to use those effectively. I think one of the challenges with both of those things is sort of the ever present nature of them. They're always there it's always possible to be contacted. I turned my phone on during the week and somebody had tagged me in a post, had nothing to do with me, but I had like twenty five notifications, none of them were anything. So it's just like little things like that. You're trying to kind of switch off and relax when suddenly you think something's happening. I need to respond or be involved and you don't need to and you should be switching off. And it's I think that's one of the challenges that I find with those sort of technologies. And I think a lot of them have really useful features. But I think what it comes down to is sort of me as an individual, I think I'm learning to have discipline with those tools and use the features and take advantage of those features so that I can switch off and step away and mute notifications for a period of time.

Carrie Anne Philbin:

Notifications! They are, they can be, I think, like such a source of anxiety and pressure to respond immediately. It's kind of the immediacy of like, someone has messaged you either via Twitter, via slack, via an email or any of the other social media platforms that exist. And you sort of feel a pressure, and I know I do, to sort of respond immediately, whether that's, you know, seven, eight, nine o'clock at night, whether that's, you know, five in the morning, because, of course, I'm awake, I have a toddler. Or you know, in the in the middle of a day or in the middle of a meeting. And I think all of that is just sort of pressure that I don't really need.

James Robinson:

I think. Yeah, you mentioned pressure. Something that I've realised I particularly struggle with at times is prioritisation. But I think when you get a notification like that, it can suddenly just jump up your priority queue when actually probably shouldn't. And I think that's one of the sort of, there's this moment of ahhh! I need to deal with this now. This is the priority. And actually most of the time it isn't. I can sit a bit lower in your priority stack.

Carrie Anne Philbin:

Yeah and oddly, when I was teaching, I used to use email a lot with my students, especially my students who had like coursework elements. Or they wanted to submit assignments. You know, I used to use email. I found it a really good way so that the students felt able to submit their work to me when it was useful for them. And I was able to kind of tag them and put them into kind of groups together so I could see where all that marking was. And then I was able to kind of schedule that marking so there were things about it were really great. And yet I didn't really feel that pressure that I do I guess when I'm working with colleagues. I didn't really feel the same pressure to respond immediately. I felt like actually that tool was really useful. But I guess it's just the notifications that are coming from colleagues where you feel like you have to respond immediately, is kind of where that pressure is coming from.

James Robinson:

Yeah, I think that's the case. I think particularly in the classroom email was almost more immediate than you needed it to be. Often you wouldn't be responding during your teaching lesson. You might get to the end to go oh have I missed anything. Oh, there's an email about wet play today or something like that, you know, and you could then respond at that moment, nothing really was more important, more pressing than what was going on in your classroom at that moment. So it was it was harder for it to kind of grab your attention in the same way.

Carrie Anne Philbin:

Well, luckily, we've had some great educators write about this for Hello World magazine. And in issue 13, "learning under lockdown". Our next guest gave some real practical advice on digital well-being when teaching, specifically remotely, because it was about how teachers were adapting during the pandemic, which here in the UK we were under quite strict lockdown rules. But I think a lot of those tips and advice are just useful generally. So I'm really pleased to say that Neil has joined us. He is a senior lecturer in computing education at the University of Hertfordshire. He's a Computing At School community leader and the founder of Computing Champions. Why do you think it's important for educators to think about how they use technology effectively?

Neil Rickus:

Thanks. Carrie Anne and thanks all for inviting me today. So as you mentioned in your introduction, this stuff is increasingly part of our lives, is essential for banking, communicating. And that device you got in your pocket actually it's probably a clock as well. You need it for those really simple things that we're constantly getting it out to look at. And it's always with us. And as James mentioned it's really, really difficult to take a break from these devices. They can be particularly addictive. It can be that we're not able to actually put them down. And then we also see, oh, I've got a message I need to respond to that I need to do something about it. And Carrie Anne you mentioned that in your introduction. But also when we send a message as well, we might have a bit of anxiety there. Oh, did I say the right thing? Are they going to respond? So it's sort of a double edged sword here, it can be really quite a worry for us as well. And this intrusivity, if that's a word of the devices. The research says that it can take us up to twenty five minutes to actually regain focus on our work when we are distracted. And if we've got a lot of these distractions during our working day, suddenly we might lose half a day's worth of work just through that refocusing of tasks. And I think linked to all of this is our increased usage of social media, which has increased during the pandemic. And having that filtered perfect view of people's lives perhaps isn't particularly good for our well being either.

James Robinson:

It's really interesting that you pick up on the anxiety caused maybe by sending as well. Like, you know, everyone's working slightly different hours nowadays as well. And so, you know, I might be working, but my colleagues might not be. And so there's also the anxiety. Am I going to interrupt their family time or their tea time or are they even working yet? And I guess, you know, we know that lots of teachers have been working from home due to the pandemic. And what effect do you think this has had on their, well being, the digital impact of them working at home?

Neil Rickus:

Yeah, this blurring of boundaries between home and work life is is really, really tricky to manage, particularly if we maybe haven't got a dedicated space for our work. And also we're having to use our own technology, which perhaps we might want to use for something that's a bit more enjoyable than I work, for example. But you still sat there, maybe that work, emails, pinging, whatever hour it is. I think maybe the the media, particularly here in the UK, is giving the impression the schools are closed, whereas actually for a lot of teachers, their working hours have increased and it's been even harder than usual to balance their various commitments, particularly if they've got family members at home, that they've also got to try and home school while teaching themselves. And then finally, because the technology is always with us, it means that perhaps we give the impression that we're always contactable. And that might include by parents as well. And for the first time, actually, parents maybe observe in all our lessons being taught and also the input that we're giving to children. And that's a scary thing. I mean, as educators, we're very used now to being observed regularly, whether that's from little Johnny in year five's parents for twenty four hours (well 3 hours a day). Certainly for me, the hours of nine til three. I'm not sure that's perhaps a good thing, particularly if I'm being asked to use a new bit of technology that I'm not that familiar with as well, which has been a worry for a number of teachers too.

Carrie Anne Philbin:

I hadn't even thought about that idea of sort of parents also observing your lesson, if you do switch to to delivering lessons remotely, yeah, you do have that extra layer of parents kind of hearing you teach. Which is added pressure, and that is actually quite terrifying. And that's actually really terrifying. I hadn't even thought about it. So, you know, what can what can teachers do to kind of help mitigate against some of these issues?

Neil Rickus:

Well, I think with the parent observation thing, I know some schools have included that into their homeschool agreements as well. Actually, how you respond to teachers. I think for individuals that managing of notifications, as we mentioned earlier, is really important, particularly using features of the devices such as do not disturb or maybe just turning off the notifications for certain apps. Although I've got a pool app on my phone that wants me to engage with some person that I haven't spoken to since I left school twenty five years ago, whatever it was. And actually I probably don't need that in my life. so to get rid of those kind of things. And also consider when we can leave the device at home or if we go for a walk or if we're watching TV. Actually, do I need this thing near me? And interestingly, Google has brought out a paper phone where you can wrap your digital device with a paper wrapper around it. So it's there in case you actually do need it for an emergency to make a phone call, perhaps if you're out on the hike, for example. But, your normal access to it is then restricted and it can even print out on the back your calendar for the day as well. If you want.

Carrie Anne Philbin:

Err James, stop hassling Neil because look at lengths he's going to avoid your notifications.

Neil Rickus:

Well, interestingly, the only work email I received this weekend was from Mr. James Robinson. I wasn't sure who he was actually. Yeah a few other bits related to this then. Actually the digital device doesn't have to be your clock. I know when I'm teaching, I actually put on a physical watch, which is about the first time I've done in about 15 years. But because I know I was using my phone as a as a clock, glancing at my phone or someone typing on Twitter, that's really exciting. I've got that dopamine hit or want to engage with. No, Neil you're teaching. Actually, I want to do a decent job teaching and also I want to engage with these people that are in front of me. Again, back to the homework boundaries side of things. If we can have a separate area dedicated for work, that's great. I appreciate, that's not always possible. But even if it's simply putting the laptop away at the end of the day, for example, closing your books, putting them in the bag, that physical processes, I am now finishing work and going to do something else can really help, too. And while we are perhaps at home more actually think about our physical health as well with us getting a decent chair, a desk and exercising to actually make sure we are getting those endorphins flowing. We're not solely rooted to the spot particularly if we might be used to, say, going to visit colleagues or walking around the classroom, which we would usually do.

Carrie Anne Philbin:

So you remind me of when I was training to be a teacher, I had this, I was working at a school, I was training at school, called Barking Abbey in Barking in Essex. And one of the senior members of staff there, he gave me this tip, which I have kept with me for life within teaching when I left teaching. And that is, he said to me, Carrie Anne whatever you do, do not take work home with you. He was like, if you have to stay in school until six, seven o'clock to complete your marking, do your planning on one day he was like, do that. Whatever you do, don't go home at sort of three, four o'clock, have your dinner and then try and do that work, after that. He said, because what you are doing it's going to take you, you're sort of switching off and switching back on again. It's going to take longer to actually complete that work. It's better for you to just stay at school, get that work done, get it done in the school building, because that is the place where you work so that when you get home, home is home. Appreciate it's difficult right now with these sort of blurred lines we've talked about with sort of pandemic and lockdowns. But I still think the same principle applies. You know, I try and keep my work in a specific room or set of rooms, and then I go and I eat my dinner in a separate room. I have my family times in separate rooms, or hopefully people were lucky enough to have multiple rooms to be able to do that. But it just feels like that tip has really set me up for life.

Neil Rickus:

Yeah, and I know the when the few times that I do have to sort of continue my work hours into the evening, the quality of my interaction with my family during that dinner time isn't as good because I know constantly in the back of my mind actually I've just got to go back and work, and I'm not switched off, relaxed and actually make things at work more challenging.

Carrie Anne Philbin:

Well, thanks, Neil. That was super interesting. We're also joined today by Cat Lamin, a computing educator and consultant who has been instrumental in bringing teachers together to talk about their well-being. She hosts a global GEG staffroom meetup online called Mental Health Matters Twice a Month. What inspired you to take action?

Cat Lamin:

It was really early on in the pandemic and I'd already met some global educators around the world. We were talking about what people can do, and I could see my friends sharing out lessons and sharing ideas and talking about best practice for compete for teaching during the pandemic. And I was sitting there thinking, what can I do? What can I do? And something I've been doing for the last few years has been talking about my own personal mental health. So I first started talking at PyCon UK. I did a presentation about what it's like to suffer from depression. And I thought, well, actually, hearing my friends talk, hearing, seeing all the tweets, there seems to be a lot of people both putting themselves under pressure and being put under pressure. And there's no outlet for it, because normally when we're in a school, we walk into the staff room, we sit down and we unload a bit and we'll have a grumble or we'll have a celebration even we'll talk about what's gone well. And that doesn't didn't exist when we were all sat at home teaching through a screen. So I had this idea and I floated it with my friends and said, you know, what do you think about opening up a staff room, just having a Google Meet or Hangouts as it was called then, opening up to anybody who wants to join. So we did that. And I think we must have had about 20 people the first time we were originally doing three a week. That lasted a couple of months. And then I dropped down to two a week and a lady called Lesleigh Altman took over one for Australia on Thursday mornings, which was Thursday evenings for her. What we found was really powerful because people felt they had the opportunity to talk, to talk about what's going on in their country, their location, what's going on in other locations, how they felt. And it was what was interesting is we started doing some things like I had a rubber ducky scale. So if you want to look it up, just Google rubber ducky scale and it's this giant rubber duck that starts off big and full of energy and eventually deflates and crashes into an island. And I just said to everyone "what number are you, what do you feel like?" And people who'd been chatting away quite happily, quite normally. Sort of said "I'm a nine", which is a duck that sunk under the water. And when you asked why? Well, actually, I can't cope. I'm struggling at the moment. I feel like I'm under water. They came across absolutely fine and absolutely normal. And that was a really interesting sort of telling moment for me. And we realised that people needed that outlet. And it's been really interesting. So we've been going for over a year now with the staff rooms and the amount of times people have just said, oh, I'm just here to listen. I just want to hear some friendly voices. And they just sit with a camera microphone off listening to us talk and we'll talk about anything. So sometimes we'll talk education. Sometimes we will vent about how rubbish everything is around us, and sometimes we'll talk about shark being fish and chips in Australia and what flavour ice cream is the best. So it's a really it's such a lovely community. You know, I count these people around the world is my friends now. I've got Fonz in Texas. I've got Leslie in Australia and these people we chat to and we chat once every few weeks at least.

James Robinson:

And it's interesting, Cat you started off by kind of like sort of looking to or seeking to kind of replace that staff room feel. That's very much an in school kind of thing. But now you've got educators talking to people from outside of their school, from beyond their school community. Why do you think is particularly important for people to reach out beyond their immediate community?

Cat Lamin:

I think it's very easy when you're looking at your own community to not appreciate what you're doing well, actually. There's a few schools I work with now with part of my consultancy work, and they keep saying, oh, we're not doing very much. We're only doing and then reel off a million wonderful things they're doing. And they think that they're not doing very well and that you're doing these wonderful things. You're recording lessons, you're doing live lessons. You're looking after your children, you're contacting parents. You're doing all these wonderful things above and beyond normal teaching, as well as still supporting the children in the classroom. And you don't think you're doing much. So that's been really powerful in itself. And then on top of that, it's just understanding what's going on in the rest of world. I think it's been really eye-opening to help us see beyond the pandemic as well.

James Robinson:

I think yeah, I think there's something in that. I always felt as a computing educator that is was a relatively isolating role because you're often a very small department or small team or team. The pandemic particularly has you know, everyone's looking because it's sort of not normal kind of period. No one quite knows what the norm is and whether what they're doing is above the average or below the average or just about right. And so there's been lots, I think, of us as looking at the practice of other people to see how they're responding, which is great for inspiration. But it also means that there's inherently a bit of a comparison going on, "oh! They're doing so much more than I am and they're doing so much less", and I think that, yeah, it's just it's just really interesting to have people connect with other educators and sort of comparing their experiences.

Cat Lamin:

Yeah, it's been one of the things that came out really early on, because a lot of the people who were in this part of this community do tend to be computing teachers or digital technology specialists, you know, people who are involved with technology in the school. And one of the things that happened quite early on was they had that sort of effect where the teachers were stressed and overwhelmed the teachers who aren't technologically proficient. People would come to them and be like, "why haven't you shown us this already? Why aren't we already? You know, why don't we already know how to do that?" And they were getting everything dumped on them. And what we found with staff room is because we were all talking about this and we all had the same experience, everyone was able to sort of say, OK, it's not just me then and we could look at the bigger picture and appreciate. OK, these teachers are being unreasonable, but they're stressed and they need someone.

Carrie Anne Philbin:

So imagine some teachers who perhaps they're not used to going outside of their classroom, perhaps they're new teachers, perhaps they're just a little bit tentative. What is a really simple kind of low effort way to start to build a support network outside of school?

Cat Lamin:

I think it's really important to look at things like social media. I know we talk about the notifications and the stress factor, but one of my friends, Alfonzo Mendoza, a guy in Texas, he talks about his personal learning family and he's got a podcast "My Ed Tech Life". All about my personal learning family, because he thinks it's more than a network. It's friends and people you look up to. And I do think it's quite important that you connect with those educators who hold similar values or similar positions to to get inspiration, get ideas. There are a few Facebook groups, but again, it's within reason. Let's not get obsessed about checking it. Don't compare yourself to other people. One thing I find a lot of teachers aren't confident in doing is admitting that they're struggling or asking for help. And that's what we sort of foster a lot with the staff room. Please let us know, no question's too stupid. It doesn't matter if you think this is a thing you should already know. There's a Facebook group I'm part of which is for UK primary school coordinators. And it's been really it's a really nice group because there are a lot of new people that almost regularly someone comes in and says, "I'm a new computing lead, What do I do?" James is a member of that group, too, because I bullied him into joining. It's really nice because everybody jumps in and says, oh, look at this, look at this, why not look at this? And so that's been really useful to join that, join those groups and find the ones that help. And there are a few groups for Google educators out there, the UK group, a global group, and people, nobody is going to criticise you for asking a stupid question or a question that you think is stupid, because the thing that people don't often realise is that you might be wondering that, but so is everyone else. You're not alone. So I think that is quite a powerful way to get involved and way to build that network. I've seen a lot lately, actually, a lot of people putting out tweets saying, here's what I do. Who should I follow? And trouble with that, though, is the trap of people just listing everyone they've ever met.

James Robinson:

And that's that's been really helpful. Recently, I think there was something recently where I tweeted a question and I can't even think what it was now Cat but you were like.. Ah! I know, the five or six people that James wants to hear from and you went and tagged them all and they all responded. And so I think it's finding the right and the most appropriate people to talk to on social media and finding those little kind of spaces where you can chat with individuals is really useful.

Carrie Anne Philbin:

But I also think it's about, as Cat has mentioned, sort of sharing, you know, asking the question, who can help me? This is this is what I'm doing or I'm I'm working on who can help me with that or sharing something that you've done. I think where we see some of the best communities built, particularly in computing education, is when people share ideas or tips or best practise. And I see that so much in things like #caschat on Twitter or the CAS forums or Hello World magazines, just places in which people can say, "look, this is a thing that I'm doing in my classroom. Maybe it's useful for you and maybe it's not". But, you know, I just think that helps build those relationships in a way that's really useful and it stops that sort of imposter syndrome a little bit.

Cat Lamin:

One of the things I find that fascinating is one of my most popular tweets last year was telling people that you could change the end of a Google Slide. URL from slash edit to slash present. And that's something I consider to be quite basic. But hundreds of people, as it turned out, didn't know that. So you'd be amazed at what simple things people don't know or people can help you with.

Carrie Anne Philbin:

And so how can people find, you know, how can listeners find your online meetup or find out more about what you're doing Cat?

Cat Lamin:

So for global GEG, for the staff room? I tweet about it from my personal Twitter when it's on. There's also the global GEG Web. Site, there's a global Twitter and Instagram, and that's all that's actually thanks to Google educated groups, and that was sort of a group of educators, again, around the world, global GEG just formed off the back, actually, of staff room and educators around the world now just offer completely free training on the website, it's lovely. But don't hesitate to get in touch with me on Twitter. I'm @catlamin and I'm always willing to help and listen. And I've also got a website I've been developing, but I haven't done much work on lately, which is mentalhealthineducation.com. And the idea behind that is to give teachers an opportunity to share their mental health journeys. So there's about 15 stories on there at the moment from educators talking about what they've struggled with in terms of their mental health. And it's fascinating to me because some of them started off with mental health issues and left their job and joined teaching and found that lifted them. And some of them found teaching caused mental health issues. And some of them just happened to have mental health issues that coincided with teaching and wanted to talk about how that affected their performance as a teacher.

Carrie Anne Philbin:

I'd like to bring Neil back in now, if I can. And you've listened to sort of Cat talk about connecting teachers, connecting globally, online and finding ways to sort of share how they're feeling. What advice do you have to help computing teachers approach their digital well-being?

Neil Rickus:

Well, I think for a lot of computing teachers, they're used to delivering sessions on online safety and how to make sure your devices are set up correctly and also make sure these notifications not pinging at every hour of the day, but to actually practise what you preach and put this stuff in play. If perhaps then other teachers see you doing it as well, that's really going to help. I think it's also important to consider if you're doing activities that are similar to those you might undertake in the classroom, such as programming or making activities is it as your hobby, or is it for work or is it a bit of both? And that crossover perhaps isn't always easy. I think a lot of computing teachers were makers, programmers, geeks, whatever you want to call it, at heart. Do consider is this a work thing I'm doing or is it for my personal enjoyment? And then finally, with the social media engagement, Actually if we're engaging with work people on Twitter, that's probably still considered as work. So it might be a time where we think we're switching off and we're not. And that engagement when we want to perhaps is absolutely fine. But I think it's worth considering. Actually is this the kind of thing I want to be doing at this particular point?

James Robinson:

I think that point you mentioned, that little about the programming and making. I can and I can definitely relate to that. And I often... Like talking to my family. "James, are you doing that programming thing, that making thing, that soldering thing? That's work right" and I'm like "Oh no no no, because it's fun. I'm enjoying it. It's like well, no those two things aren't mutually exclusive. I can be having fun and doing work, but if it's work, you should count it as work. And I think that's that's really tricky to kind of to untangle those two things. And sometimes I use it as, hey, I know that I've used it as an argument to myself. I've convinced myself "this is fun". That's why I'm doing it, not because I feel obliged, because it's work". But, yeah, it's a difficult sort of trap to get out of.

Neil Rickus:

Yeah, I know. The minute I'm doing Harvard's CS50 introduction to Game Development Course and it's completely self guided and you in theory do it whenever you want but because I maybe see it as more fun than work, it inevitably eats into an evening and weekend and I'm finding that really difficult to balance at the minute.

Carrie Anne Philbin:

And this is a question to both of you. But, you know, I thought that kind of struck me and maybe we don't really know the answer to this yet. Maybe there's just not enough research. But I was thinking about how the well-being of teachers might impact on students and the attainment of students. Do you think that's the case?

Cat Lamin:

And I strongly believe that a happy teacher is going to be a better teacher. Realistically, if your mental health is struggling, then how are you going to support the mental health of your students? I think as educators, the vast majority of us are hugely empathetic and we naturally care about the students we teach. But if you're struggling if you're overwhelmed, then you're not going to have time to put that care and consideration into your students, which is, of course, going to negatively impact how you're teaching, how you're able to support them. And it's so important that schools and senior leadership in particular think about teachers' well-being so that if they're supported, then that will support the students as well.

Neil Rickus:

And I certainly agree with Kate that I think if the children realise that perhaps you're not giving them the same reactions that they respect, where maybe they give a response to a question. They might become concerned or maybe even anxious, or that could impact on their behaviour and perhaps the classroom dynamics might change there.

James Robinson:

I think just all those... We've talked throughout this, our conversation about lots of little times where maybe you're distracted by a notification, you're working during your personal time. And I think all of these things are occasions where you might not be giving your work your all. You're distracted by something go and respond to a tweet or you're giving a really quick, rapid response to a notification that comes in. And I think in all of those occasions, it's possible you may not be making the best decisions. You're making quick decisions. And so I think not only is there possibly a bigger kind of macro effect on the students, but also just those little tiny moments where you're not fully engaged in work. You may not be making the best choices, the best decisions that may come to kind of.

Carrie Anne Philbin:

Yeah, super interesting I really want to thanks both Neil Rickus and Cat Lamin for joining us today to really talk about well-being in teaching and do check out Neil's article in Hello World about using tools effectively for your digital well-being. And also check out all of the links that we put in the show notes so you can see how you can engage with Cat's work. And so we decided to put the question out to to you, our listeners. How are you managing your digital well-being? Nicholas Provenzano messaged to say he makes things whetever he can think of woodworking, coding, gaming, whatever helps him, keeps his anxiety down is how he manages his well-being.

James Robinson:

And there are also lots of comments about outside, you know, just getting out outside, enjoying being outdoors and reconnecting with nature. So Amanda Haughs, who we spoke to in one of our first early episodes of the podcast, said that she started walking more, both their sort of local neighbourhood walks, but also discovering new places they'd never been before. And really kind of that nature and exercise had been really good for their mental health throughout throughout this period.

Carrie Anne Philbin:

And we also asked what strategies do you use to create boundaries between home and teaching. And Spencer Organ tells us that he has a home office in which he and his wife, they use it and they only ever do their school work in that room. Once the door closes, school work remains in there, particularly email, which I never check on my phone. And I have to say that is a top tip, Spencer, because I've also recently learnt to turn off my work email on my personal phone.

James Robinson:

So is a really good tip, but I think I'm going to probably be following suit as well. I think things like Slack and Twitter they're quite useful for immediate notifications, but I don't need emails on my phone. It's a very similar comment, in fact. But just sort of highlighting the fact it doesn't need to be a separate space or room. It's just you just need a tiny little office space, says Matt, who goes by @alwayscomputing on Twitter just to separate your your work and your downtime in your head. It's about mental separation.

Carrie Anne Philbin:

What an interesting discussion we've had today about well-being. So, James, what did we learn today?

James Robinson:

I think for me it was that that creating that sort of mental separation between work and home, however you do it, whether it's about the physical stuff, whether it's about routine, whether it's about notifications, I think that's a really important challenge for all of us at the moment, is to make that mental separation between work and our personal life. How about you? What did you take away from the conversation?

Carrie Anne Philbin:

So I've learnt there's possibly about six ways in which I can block someone called James Robinson from my communication devices. So I'm going to go and do that.

James Robinson:

Well, I'm going to research some more ways to bother you, so there we are