Improving teacher wellbeing takes time and effort, but it needn’t cost a fortune, says Charlotte Ward
1. Shout-out board
In the hustle and bustle of day-to-day life sometimes gratitude gets lost. We wanted to encourage people to say thanks and came up with the idea of a “shout-out” board. This started with a blank display board in the staff room, some post-it-notes and pens. Staff were encouraged to write a quick message of thanks to other staff members.
2. Book exchange
Living abroad, it can be expensive to get English books, so we decided to set up a book exchange in the staffroom, to encourage staff to take some time out and read for pleasure. Books could be swapped, borrowed, taken or left behind for others. It grew quite rapidly and was soon overflowing the cupboard we’d originally housed it in.
3. Free tea and coffee
One of the first things we did after setting up our wellbeing committee was to send out a staff survey. Something that came up quite a lot on that survey was the lack of tea and coffee available for staff. So, we decided to use some of our budget to make sure there was always tea, coffee, sugar and milk in the staff room. It was a small gesture that showed staff we were thinking of them and taking on board their survey feedback.
4. Make wellbeing visible
Our staffroom display boards were in need of a little TLC, so we turned one of them into a wellbeing board. We displayed the New Economics Foundation’s five ways to wellbeing and ideas related to them. We also promote staff clubs and events; a Twitter corner champions people in the education sector to follow; and a tips section allows people to suggest ideas that work for them in relation to reducing stress.
5. Wellbeing box
We created a “wellbeing box” for the staff room, stocked with a variety of inexpensive items, such as moisturiser, deodorant, breath mints, sore throat sweets, ibuprofen, hand cream, soothing tea, vitamin tablets, face masks, stress balls and puzzle books. Staff were encouraged to use the box when needed and many have since begun to contribute – giving something back by adding their own remedies.