Why teachers need to PLAY more
We know play is important for students to learn, that play inspires creativity, and play helps build positive emotions, so can teachers play too?
The increasing demands on teachers often leave us feeling tired, stressed and exhausted, yet there is another way. Evidence from Positive Psychology is showing us how both student and staff wellbeing can be supported with some simple strategies. The research suggests that it doesn’t matter where you start as long as you take some form of positive action. Just as we ask students to be open and curious to learning, so to must we as teachers. Wellbeing is not just the responsibility of the individual, but the organisation as well. Teacher wellbeing is more than the one-off morning tea or afternoon drinks. We must be more strategic and apply the same evidence based principles to teacher wellbeing as we do with student wellbeing programs.
When planning your teacher wellbeing policy, consider the following four steps to PLAY;
P LAN VARIETY – Just as we cater for diversity with students, we must plan opportunities for staff wellbeing that cater for different personalities, interests and needs. Eg, Mindful moments, gratitude jars, strengths spotting, walking meditations are all options for people to choose not, not compulsory activities.
L AUGH & LEARN – Encourage staff to be open and curious by providing opportunities to share new conversations. Highlight learnings and celebrate achievements in meaningful and engaging meetings.
A CTION HABITS – Policies and procedures must encourage new habits that are acted upon regularly. Positive actions must become embedded into the routines of the school day. Just as we don’t get fit by going to the gym once, we must encourage repeated small actions in weekly or daily habits.
Y OUR BEST FIT – Everyone has their own unique strengths and will feel connected to different activities. Allow people to choose activities that are a best fit for them. Give people options eg creative pursuits, movement activities, or readings, videos & TED talks in staff bulletins.
We all teach because we care and we all need to support each other to be the best we can in our roles.
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