A Word about Wellbeing

Our wonderful colleague Naomi has some words of advice on wellbeing. This blog was originally written for teachers but any of us who work with others and want to get the best from our teams and be able to give the best to our teams should take note…everybody sitting comfortably? Today’s lesson will begin…

Teacher and student wellbeing are like two sides of a coin.  If teachers look after themselves, then the students will have a better day. But teachers are frankly terrible at putting themselves first.  There is always something more important: a pile of unmarked books, some extra planning to make that lesson a tiny bit better, spending perhaps too much time with a struggling colleague.

However, if this goes on, stress and exhaustion can become overwhelming.

Recently, ‘The New Economics Foundation’ published ‘5 Ways to Wellbeing’:

 

1. Connect

Connect with the people around you. With family, friends, colleagues and neighbours. Think of these as the cornerstones of your life and invest time in developing them. 


2. Exercise

Go for a walk or run, Step outside. Cycle. Play a game. Garden. Dance. Try something new.

3. Notice

Be curious. Catch sight of the beautiful. Note the changing seasons. Be aware of the world around you and what you are feeling.

 
4. Volunteer

Do something nice for a friend or a stranger. Thank someone. Smile. Volunteer your time. Join a community group.

5. Learn

Try something new. Rediscover an old interest  Sign up for that course.  Take on a different responsibility at work.  Set a challenge you will enjoy achieving. 

Could this be a five a day habit that could help teachers improve their wellbeing and resilience?

Through social networks, teachers are taking part in a campaign, #teacher5aday, where they encourage each other to foreground these five areas in their daily lives.

There have been spin off campaigns like #exerciseaday and #sketchaday or #writeaday where teachers invest time in their physical health or creativity, then share achievements which are applauded by a like-minded community. The affirmation in itself is powerful!

There have been exhibitions of teachers’ artwork and some schools now hand out wellbeing bags as a gesture of appreciation and an acknowledgement that teachers need looking after!

As a spin off from this campaign, there is now #student5aday.  In a primary school in Bournemouth, a teacher leading the campaign has given a wellbeing journal to every child.  This is a personal space where Year 2-6 students are setting wellbeing goals, reflecting on their experiences and making notes about their progress.  This is so exciting as they are developing good habits which could last a lifetime.

A school is a community – and if teachers and students are teaching care of themselves and each other… well, that’s a community I would like to be part of.

To find out more, look up #teacher5aday and #student5aday on Twitter.