A Positive Approach to Supporting Our Colleagues through Menopause

Every time I talk to schools and their staff about perimenopause and menopause I learn something. That’s great, because it becomes an insight I can share with others.

This week’s insight came from a panel discussion with Education Support and Jules Daulby, an Assistant Head in a special school, a fellow menopauser and all-round inspirational woman. You can watch the webinar here

Jules spoke about her struggles dealing with menopause in a toxic work environment and her contrasting experience in her current supportive school. You can read more about Jules' experience here.

As a senior leader she uses a strengths based approach to supporting staff who are struggling with menopause, ADHD or mental health issues. As well as adjusting the tasks which are proving overwhelming, she sits down with staff and figures out the things that they good at - the places where she they able to offer something to the school and her colleagues. This could be working on learning materials, it could be working with particular groups of pupils, it could be supporting other teachers. Some people even thrive on administrative tasks!

The benefit of this approach is that no-one feels like they are asking for too much, or putting an unfair burden than others. They’re simply contributing slightly differently.

And at a time when our confidence often crashes, it’s really helpful to be reminded of the things we are good at, and our unique contribution to the life of the school.

It’s also a really useful way of turning that conversation round. It’s really easy to have a negative approach to menopause and only think about the problems it causes.

I’ll admit I talk a lot about the problems it causes - and usually people come to me with those problems and I help them find solutions.

But I’m going to be asking those other questions as well.

  • What is it that you’re good at?
  • What can you offer?
  • What’s your unique contribution?

Because although parts of our limbic system are affected by hormone changes, which can lead to brain fog, memory loss and mood swings, there are also parts that aren’t affected. The smart, creative, empathetic parts of our brains are still going strong. And very often we’ve been doing our jobs a long time and are a repository of experience and wisdom which others can draw on.

Which is something to celebrate!