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  • Writer's pictureDaniel Yeow

BLOG: Greg speaks from the heart on Team Optix wellbeing partnership

Walking back to his hotel from a conference in Spain on a beautifully sunny Spring day, GEST Consultancy's Greg Martin was on cloud nine.


The CEO of an edtech provider had effectively offered him a role based in Asia. Greg was experiencing joy and excitement and a great sense of adventure at what the future held in terms of his career.


A man in a grey tee-shirt and a girl smile at the camera in Malaysia
Greg and his daughter in Malaysia

But he was also very conscious that as part of the package, his 11-year-old daughter’s fees to a British International School would be covered too. It would provide an education of the highest standards, coupled with the exciting, life enhancing experiences that relocating to Asia would bring her.


Greg had already been working internationally for 12 years, four of those in the education sector. He thrived being in an international environment. But his biggest challenge, when engaging with schools, was building their trust and confidence. He needed to understand the school environment from key stakeholders’ perspectives; the teachers, the students and the parents.


State schools


Fast forward nine more years to today... and through life experiences that include a relationship with a teacher who taught in an international school as well as UK State schools, Greg has a much clearer understanding of the pressures on children and teachers, no matter what type of school they are at or where in the world they are.


Through the eyes of his daughter and partner, Greg has been able to much better understand the mindset of those key stakeholders.


There was the ‘tiger parenting’ witnessed in Asia and the pressures, and at times disconnect, that imparts on students.


There is the influences experienced by all students, wherever they are in the world; the challenges of peer pressure, social media and misinformation and malevolent influencers on the internet; through to the pandemic and the subsequent impact on socio emotional learning for children.


High expectations


It's often the same for teachers too with demanding expectations from parents and schools in the international school sector, through to the huge workload and pressures put on them in UK State schools. Add to that the unofficial roles of psychologist and social worker that teachers take on without question. Roles that take so much time but also drain teachers mentally and physically whilst affecting the amount and quality of teaching they can deliver to the majority of learners.


Against that backdrop of experience, when Greg says he is looking forward to working closely with new GEST client Team Optix’s school wellbeing provision, he’s speaking from the heart.



Greg taking a ride on a taxi - Asian style - during his time working on the continent

“I am not an educator and the big challenge you face in the edtech industry is demo-ing software and products because you really need to understand and believe in what you are talking about,” says Greg.

“But I also know how hard things can be for teachers these days too.

“So, it is important for teachers and students to be able to share their thoughts through a platform which feels a lot more confidential so that interventions can be made where and when necessary.

“That can be so important and could lead to basic support - right up to stopping potential suicides.


Wellbeing

“Kids face a lot of pressures these days and social media algorithms push strategic content in front of them all day, every day. They have also been through a terribly damaging pandemic which was hard for adults, let alone children.

“So, it is great to see software like Team Optix providing such a valuable service. And it’s superb that Ministries in countries such as the United Arab Emirates, have introduced initiatives like Dubai’s ‘Wellbeing Matters’ framework.


It enables a shared understanding of wellbeing improvement, creating a culture of collaboration and engagement that brings wellbeing closer to the heart of Dubai’s school communities.”

“Myself and GEST Consultancy are fully behind doing all we can to make sure that today’s students and school staff have as much support as we can give them.”


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