Wellbeing And The Deputy Head
February 12, 2021

Russell Pearson

Many schools have provided a lifeline to their communities during the COVID-19 pandemic. Willowbrook in Exeter is no exception.

As the lockdowns extend, concerns over mental wellbeing have also increased.

Russell Pearson is a Deputy Head with a difference. He runs a hugely successful Facebook Group for educators (he’s one of the ‘Dynamic Deps’) and his focus on Wellbeing is around the Inside-Out understanding.

This recent FB post from his emphasises how he sees things:

“In the days and weeks to come, people will quite rightly become more concerned about the wellbeing of their school communities. Unfortunately, the temptation will be to focus on tokenistic strategies. There’s nothing wrong with tokens of kindness, but where should we really place our focus when it comes to wellbeing?…

  • Listening deeply to one another. When our views and experiences are deeply heard, we feel valued.
  • Recognising workload issues and being brave in making changes where they’re needed.
  • Truly being thankful for one another and letting people know they’re making a difference.
  • Acknowledging where we and others are at emotionally.
  • Accepting uncomfortable emotions and not trying to fix them. (It’s really very natural to have big dips in mood at the moment.)
  • Giving people the tools they need to do their job.
  • Going out of your way to check in with others – many people will keep quiet about their worries.

Wellbeing isn’t about stuff that goes on an action plan, or a ticklist you can work through. It’s about having a #HumanFirst approach to the way you’re doing things. It’s about operating genuinely from a place of kindness and compassion.”

When Russell Pearson came across the Inside Out understanding it made a profound difference to his personal life. On the outside he was a successful teacher on the verge of being promoted to an Assistant Head’s post – yet on the inside he was struggling. When he experienced panic attacks he questioned his own mental health – it was a frightening time.

His life transformed when he undertook some coaching with Inner Compass Guide CIC.

He went from feeling anxious and tense – to understanding that resilience and wisdom are innate qualities of being human.

Initially he was surprised at the approach. His coach wasn’t an expert in education and didn’t give him advice or answers. The coach didn’t offer strategies or tools and techniques to change his thinking, or to think positive thoughts. There was no emphasis on ‘doing’ anything to obtain wellbeing.

Instead the coach focussed on Russell’s wellbeing, his thinking and self-understanding.

“What I love is that it’s not a set of strategies, it’s an understanding. When you have an understanding of something that happens to be true you notice the implications for yourself. “

Russell has continued to be inspired by wellbeing. He is now the deputy Head of a primary school and he’s always exploring ways of connecting with staff and helping them to experience their own wellbeing.

“The truest thing is that you’re always OK – that’s quite a profound thing when you get head around it, that at your core you’re ok. At first it was challenging, but it’s very empowering and I say it to myself when others might flap or panic.”

In 2019 we helped him as he trained up a small group of Y5&6 as Wellbeing Champions in the school. At the time (prior to COVID) we had hoped this would be the the start of creating an ongoing group of children who would be wellbeing ambassadors.

Children learning to be Wellbeing Ambassadors
Check out this pre-COVID podcast to learn more about Russell and the wellbeing work he engages with.

Russell is one of the guests of Keeping in the Convo.

If you’d like to join us on ‘Keeping in the Convo’ take a look at our Wellbeing Listener Foundation Programme – this free series of ongoing webinars is available to those who have been on the training.

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About Inner Compass

Liz Scott & Stu Newberry are trainers, coaches and speakers. They work with individuals and groups across the UK. They also help develop coaching cultures (founded on wellbeing) within schools and organisations.

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Discover how the Inner Compass can guide you

How can you uncover your in-built resilience and wellbeing? What's the best way to share a message of wellbeing with others? The Inner Compass can guide you.

i

Explore our articles, podcasts and resources

Our articles, podcasts and resources will help people like you find the language to share the Inner Compass (also known as the Inside-Out understanding) with others.

Find out about courses, events and coaching

We've been sharing the Inside-Out understanding around the world for many years. Find out about Inner Compass courses, events and coaching.

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Get in touch with us to start a conversation

Do you want to find out more about Inner Compass? Or have questions about the Inside-Out (Three Principles) understanding? Get in touch.

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