Teacher Well-being Bags by @abbiemann1982

This is a re-blog post originally posted by Abbie Mann, and published with kind permission.

The original post can be found here.

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After an overwhelming response to the teacher well-being bags created this week on #PedagooFriday, I decided to blog about them.

Many people have asked me where I got the idea from, so I think that’s a good a place to start as any.

The past few weeks have seen teachers blogging about their reflections on 2014 and hopes for 2015 using the #nurture1415 tag created by @ChocoTzar. Thanks to @sue_cowley who kindly collated them and you can find the full list of this year’s offerings here. These inspiring blogs are accompanied by @ICTEvangelist’s amazing posters. See here for those.

In addition, a growing number of teachers have also been blogging about their #teacher5aday resolutions, an exciting initiative designed to promote well-being belonging to @MartynReah For an explanation by the man himself, see here. A collection of #teacher5aday blogs can also be found here.

After reading many of the blogs from the list above it got me thinking about what I could do to improve well-being in my own place of work. It seems obvious and simple to me that if teachers are healthy, positive individuals their teaching practice benefits from this. In the current climate surrounding education teachers need to know that there are people who care about their well-being and that they really do matter. Teacher well-being bags were the outcome of a late night planning session designed to get this message delivered.

My role within the school is to improve teaching and learning. That means working closely with colleagues. It’s important to me that staff want to improve because they want to improve, not because I want them to. To achieve this I organised an in-house TeachMeet focusing on expertise from within the school. The aim was to make staff feel valued and encourage a collaborative approach to teaching and learning across the curriculum areas. This was to take place on our inset day after the Christmas break. Having asked staff to step out of their comfort zones, I was conscious that after two weeks away nerves would have set in. In an attempt to make staff feel welcome and confident I distributed the bags. They were an immediate hit!

Each bag contained a personalised poster created quickly and easily using @RhonnaFarrer’s design app.

The rest of the items included are listed below along with instructions for use:

  • Cupcake cook book – set up a rota and get baking for department meetings
  • Star stickies – write praise on these and leave them in places your colleagues will find them
  • Stickers – label lessons/ideas that worked well
  • Notepad – write down great teaching ideas on the go!
  • Stickies – use these in department meetings to plan new schemes/lessons. Time-savers.
  • Mints – to keep you cool when the going gets tough
  • Biscuits – for duty days and break times
  • Highlighters – to make your schemes of work stand out
  • Tissues – for those days. We all have them.
  • Sweets – an energy boost for those afternoon triple lessons
  • Stamps – we all love stamps, right?

The list is by no means exhaustive and was, if I’m honest, a little rushed. I plan on improving the concept this term.  I’m already thinking about ‘revision packs’ for my year 11s!

Initial feedback from the bags has been fantastic. One staff member said she, ‘felt the room visibly lift,’  when they were distributed, whilst another stated, ‘it made me feel part of a team.’ I shall continue to measure impact over the next term but it’s already quite clear due to the response from staff and Twitter users that it’s a welcome idea.

I hope you’ve found them, and this blog, useful!

Why not have a go at your own #nurture1415 or #teacher5aday?

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