By Casimir Germain, Teacher Well-being Programme
One of the most stressful jobs in the world is being a teacher, followed by surgeon, police officer, commercial airline pilot and firefighter. On an average day, teachers make more decisions minute by minute than brain surgeons. Tasks include planning to conduct lessons, managing classroom dynamics, taking pupils on school trips, emailing parents, marking homework, reporting to line managers, and that’s all before lunchtime! As a result of all these decisions, the brain can result in cognitive overload, where the teacher literally becomes overwhelmed.
At Horizon English School, the well-being team has developed a programme to support the school’s staff emotionally and physically, as well as empowering the staff community to flourish. The well-being programme has been based on the school’s psychology model and strategy for well-being ‘Learn it, Live it, Teach it, Embed it’, and has been inspired by the PERMA model’s five ways to well-being, taking in Positive Emotions, Engagement, Relationships, Meaning and Achievement. Drawing on these five elements, the modules in the school’s well-being programme include Keep Learning: embrace new experiences, see opportunities, surprise yourself, Connect: Talk & listen, Be there, Feel connected, Give: Your time, Your words, Your presence, Take Notice: Remember the simple things that give you joy, Be Active: Do what you can, Enjoy what you do, Move your mood.
At Horizon English School, the well-being team has developed a programme to support the school’s staff emotionally and physically
The programme also includes an induction to training on well-being and draws on successes observed in social and emotional learning, mental health prevention, and health promotion, all of which have been adapted to meet the goals of offering a positive education at the school.
Other simple tasks that the school has implemented for the teachers include:
- Setting boundaries; encouraging teachers to finish work on time and limit emails to work hours only.
- Taking regular breaks; ensuring that there’s a space where teachers can relax, away from their classroom. Making sure that refreshments are readily available and that everyone remembers to take a pause and drink a glass of water.
- Keeping active; organising gym sessions and offering coaching programmes to support physical and mental well-being
- Community spirit; ensuring that the school is a friendly place to work, supporting each other and being kind.
As a result of their well-being programme, Horizon English School achieved an outstanding rate of teacher retention, with 93% of teachers remaining in the school this year.
Horizon English School achieved an outstanding rate of teacher retention, with 93% of teachers remaining in the school this year
With supporting its staff, the number one priority, Horizon English School’s staff can also benefit from flexible working hours, childcare and staff well-being initiatives throughout the year as part of the programme. These initiatives include well-being coaching sessions to encourage goal setting and self-reflection, a staff yoga programme, reflective art sessions with the Head of Art, Ramadan beach run mornings and staff involvement with the Dubai 30×30 Fitness Challenge.
A well-being strategy is essential to any school, as it will help support the school’s staff emotionally and physically, as well as empowering the staff community to flourish.