Being an instructor is a rewarding but challenging role. You will spend most of your time face-to-face with your cohort, which may have a higher cognitive load than you are used to with consultancy. Therefore, it is essential that both you and Next Generation Engineering strive towards looking after yourself, physically and mentally.
Instructing is a role that requires your full attention for the majority of the day, so it's important that you maintain a healthy work-life balance. You should ensure that you are taking a full lunch break away from your machine, as well as regular breaks throughout the day. It is suggested that your face-to-face time with learners is no more than between the hours of 09:00 - 16:00.
It's also important that you establish office hours with your cohort, as you may end up working to help them with queries or problems for longer than you should be doing. While it is important that we give our learners as much help as possible, you still need to look after your wellbeing.
Looking after yourself
As we mentioned above, instructing requires a lot of your attention throughout each day, and can be more taxing than an average day of consultancy. It is crucial that you maintain wellbeing throughout your teaching. Here are a handful of helpful tips:
Exercise: Take a walk. Do some stretches. Perform some yoga. Go for a run. There are plenty of ways you can keep your mind and body healthy when teaching.
Take breaks: You should aim to have a 5 - 10 minute break for every hour of face-to-face teaching you do. This isn't crucial as you may be "in the flow" so don't want to take a break. However, it will be beneficial for both yourself and your learners if you take regular breaks. It's also good to make a point of getting out of your seat and moving around in that time.
Ask for help: You won't know absolutely everything on the course, and you're certainly not expected to. If you ever find yourself in a position where you are struggling, then please reach out to another instructor, colleague or account lead.
Embrace your mistakes: There may be times where you feel unsure of your abilities and confidence. You may feel like you didn't deliver a session to your best potential, or that you let your learners down in some way. Everyone will make mistakes in their teaching, no matter how many years of experience they have. It's beneficial to remain grounded and not let bad thoughts or emotions weigh you down. Try sharing these thoughts with a colleague or friend, practicing mindfulness, reading a book, or making a conscious effort to think positively about the things you have accomplished. Do what you need to do to feel your best, and always talk to someone if you need a hand.
Availability: You don't have to be available to learners at all hours of the day. It's crucial that you and your learners have expectations at the start of a programme that you won't necessarily be able to reply to a Slack message, or jump on a call at a moment's notice.