Pro-active motivational support is one of the grounding principles of my work as an Associate Lecturer and regular, continuous contact is one of the ways I do this. I send out weekly emails to my students to maintain contact and build relationships; the emails usually consist of the introducing the study aims of the week with appropriate guidance and pointers. I see this contact as a positive interaction with students to help motivate them but I have previously underestimated its positive impact on my own wellbeing.
I enjoy receiving replies to these emails from students as distance teaching can be just as isolating for the tutor as the student, and getting feedback from others is encouraging, whether the student is asking for support and guidance or just acknowledging your contact.
I am absolutely delighted when students ask about my mental health (I have bipolar disorder) as this signifies to me a world where barriers are breaking down, and disability is acknowledged as a part of identity, not a stigma or tragedy.
So my wish in the coming year is the building of positive, supportive relationships within the university setting, with openness and acceptance of difference.