Changing the landscape of our schools in not an easy task, and the work involved in doing so should not be underestimated. But neither should the overwhelming benefits that accompany a healthier and happier school community. There is research to show that improved wellness leads to greater teacher retention, a higher rate of job satisfaction and improved academic performance. That is a compelling reason for school communities to take the steps needed to make a change for the healthier. Education systems, policies and practices need to work together to create the cultural changes that will be needed to reduce stress, minimise the negative effects of stress and improve the well-being of the entire school community thus improving student outcomes.
Having said that, however, I realise how difficult change can be; especially this year when there is so much uncertainty around what teaching and learning will look like in the future. So, I offer these ideas for change, and remind you that small steps are incredibly important and over time build into big change.
Here is what wellness in schools could look like for teachers
I feel balanced and supported
I have freedom to be creative
I have opportunities to learn and advance my career
I have a network to support me and help me overcome challenges
Here is what wellness in schools could look like for students
I understand what is expected of me
My workload is balanced
My teachers are organised
There are supports in place to help me overcome challenges