A hugely important, but often overlooked aspect of school life is the well-being of its staff. As adults, are are well used to prioriting the well-being of children – both our own and the children in our care. But with more and more teachers leaving the profession (myself included) looking after the well-being of teachers – and in fact ALL staff in school, has become more and more of a priority. The fact is that if we DON’T look after our teachers, we may find ourselves in a position where there is a massive shortfall, and it’s the children who will suffer ultimately. Huge workloads, increasing expectations, marking, inspections, observations, behaviour, micro management, all of these things add to the stress that teachers are under, and we’ve collated some ideas here to both help people look after their own well-being and also give some tips to schools at an organisational level too. Fact is, looking after people who educate our children is not only the RIGHT thing to do, it’s also paramount to the life outcomes of the next generation.
Top Tips for Improving Teacher and School Staff Well-Being
- Both sweet and healthy snacks should be provided in all staff briefings and meetings. If it’s a morning briefing, provide breakfasty snacks too.
- Say THANK YOU! Thank each other, thank the headteacher, thank a TA, thank a colleague, encourage parents and children to say thank you. This really does go a long way!
- Staff shout out board for staff to leave anonymous post it notes when they notice another member of staff going above and beyond, or helping someone out, or for just generally being a great person to work with.
- Make it normal, acceptable and encouraged for staff to leave school “early”, by 4pm. Everyone manages their workload differently, so if they prefer to leave early and take work home then fine, if they prefer to stay later and do all their work at school that’s fine too. Or leave early and take no work home!
- Provide activities such as staff choir, yoga, mindfulness workshops etc for staff if they want it. Preferably within directed time!
- Pot luck lunches, bring a dish each and dib in!
- An open and approachable senior team where the door is always wide open.
- The school provides and pays for all hot drinks – this includes teabags, coffee, milk and anything else requested by staff.
- Staff social events if requested, but no obligation to attend.
- On each teacher’s birthday, a member of SLT teaches for the day – this makes the teacher feel valued and gives them something to look forward to. Make it fair so that people who have birthdays at weekends and holidays don’t miss out though.
- At Christmas have a Christmas lunch together, funded by school, at lunchtime, away from the children.
- Christmas shopping day!
- Let staff take their PPA time at home.
- Ensure that staff meetings only take an hour and are purposeful and meaningful.
- Seriously look at your marking policy. Come up with something together that works for the school, children and staff. No meaningless marking!
- Free cooked breakfast once a half term.
- Assemblies to be taken by the head teacher whilst the teachers can go and prep/plan.
- Use the app Fit2Teach to accurately monitor your worklife balance.
- Ask your staff what they’d like! What are their priorities, what’s important to them, what’s adding to their workload. Do an anonymous survey.
- No emailing at weekends and holidays.
What do you do at your school to encourage staff well-being?
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