CONTENT Overview

This introductory module looks at current research and explores trends and implications for all teachers and school leaders. The focus is on the importance on prioritising wellbeing and incorporating practical strategies into life and work. The session also begins a conversation about the potential for teaching cohorts to evolve as valuable peer support networks.

Participants will be able to:

Interpret relevant schools-based health and wellbeing data and relate to their own experience

As Teachers we often feel ‘alone’ with our stress, and don’t see what a sector-wide issue of importance it is. It is also easy to misunderstand who exactly is primarily responsible and accountable for doing something about it (namely, ourselves).

Identify what the brain needs for wellbeing

Teachers are sometimes across ‘the science’ when it comes to kids and pedagogy, but can be unaware of the adult brain elements at play here.

Recognise basic stress responders

As Teachers we are constantly dealing with a wide range of stressors. It’s is vitally important we recognise how these show up and our reactions to them.

Describe wellbeing in personal and creative terms

As Teachers we have heard the term ‘wellbeing’ so many times that we may have become emotionally estranged from it. We need to make the term feel, look and sound real in terms that are meaningful to each of us personally.

Apply an initial wellbeing self- assessment

Before moving forward purposely with a proactive approach to wellbeing we need to create a baseline and begin to understand where we are now so that we can decide where we would like to be in the future.​

MODULE 1 - THE CRITICAL IMPORTANCE OF Staff HEALTH AND WELLBEING

This module begins with an exploration of the psychological and physical effects of stress and anxiety. Participants are encouraged to identify their own stress and overload markers and consider practical brain tools (e.g. mindfulness, meditation, breathing exercises, visualisation, questions) and coping strategies to regulate and manage stress responses.    

Participants will be able to:

Describe SET (Survival, Emotional and Thinking) brain elements and apply it to their own sense of wellbeing

Many educators are well and truly stuck in ‘survival’ mode – the emotional and thinking sides of this model will provide Teachers with a healthily wider picture to asses their current situation by.

Identify personal stress and overload markers

Teachers are so busy balancing work and life and concentrating on the wellbeing of their students that they often don’t recognise how they are responding to stress, or how this is affecting others around them, until it is very far advanced and at potentially dangerous levels. Learning to identify these markers early can be very important in adopting a proactive approach to wellbeing.

Apply a variety of practical brain tools and coping strategies

Teachers in general are good with tools and activities. What they probably aren’t so aware of is the capacity to access and use simple activities on a regular basis that can have a major impact on ‘coping’. Changing simple routines and behaviours can and does have major implications for personal wellbeing.

MODULE 2 - Know thyself: addressing and overcoming challenges

We can’t avoid challenges in the workplace, but we can build our resilience to assist us to identify, manage and bounce back from challenges more effectively. This module focuses on practical and effective ways to build both personal and team resilience. The focus is on practical skills to identify and maintain wellbeing across the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual dimensions.    

Participants will be able to:

Articulate the notion of resilience and define it in personal terms

Educators are hearing a lot about resilience and GRIT. It needs to be pared back to what really makes sense and matters, and as per above, we need to stop seeing it as a book chapter or TED video or ‘something we do with the kids’ and make it something we can understand and use at a personal level.

Discuss the importance of resilience at team and whole-school levels

Resilience is usually talked about in personal/individual terms. Schools are highly integrated teams and networks that also need strategic resilience, and teachers have a colossal role to play in creating that environment.

Describe the 4 Rs of Resilience: Reality, Reframe, Refocus, Rituals

The 4R’s will help teachers to understand more about techniques for managing their responses to situations by developing a set of strategies for preparing for and processing the hectic pace of interactions that occur each day in busy classrooms. They will also enrich teachers’ understanding of the range of ways to enhance their wellbeing in time-efficient and readily available ways.

Plan and apply a 4-Quadrants Plan to identify and maintain wellbeing across physical, mental, emotional and spiritual dimensions

Focusing on a holistic approach to wellbeing the 4-Quadrants model will remind people that things like playing with your pets or kids is good for you, as is exercise, healthy eating, reading a book etc. Just knowing this is the case works to support wellbeing. This will serve as a powerful reminder to teachers about the various ways they can support their own wellbeing focus as part of the work being developed for their students.

MODULE 3 - Building and developing resilience

This module builds on the previous modules to present further practical and relevant psychological tools to master the art of influence, greater regulation of ourselves and greater influence of others, therefore enhanced role modelling of health and wellness, greater influence of others, particularly our team members with a focus on support around health and wellbeing.    

Participants will be able to:

Describe the ‘how’ of behavioural change and apply relevant psychological tools to help stay with ‘cans’

It’s easy to get caught in traps: the CAN’T (system is stacked against me, I can’t make any difference, I want to but nobody listens or cares). The dialogue here needs to shift to a practical ‘CAN’ mentality. What we can achieve is many small changes that will have a major impact on our overall experience.

Identify how mindsets impact on and influence others

Teachers often underestimate the positive and negative impacts they have on colleagues through their actions and dispositions. Understanding how we affect the experiences of others will better enable us to support a higher level of wellbeing within the group.

Describe transactional analysis and the Parent-Adult-Child interface

Particularly relevant in education settings, where in dealing with students teachers can inadvertently talk to or respond to colleagues in non-adult modes (without even realising it).

Relate transactional analysis to own experiences

Identify and build on ‘tiny habits’ for own and others’ wellbeing

Wellbeing is often seen as ‘another project’ or big task to worry about, therefore gets shelved in the face of day to day demands. Tiny habits is a practical formula that can positively infiltrate teachers’ days and weeks.

MODULE 4 - Mastering the art of influence and wellbeing

This module attends to our career focus and the impact that this can have on our overall health and wellbeing. We explore ‘career transitioning and planning’ as part of this module, the imperative of networking from a strategic perspective, with an emphasis on aligning our passion, gifts and purpose with our work and career, for the ultimate benefit of enhanced health and wellbeing.    

Participants will be able to:

Relate professional and career elements to personal wellbeing

It’s easy to look at our careers or professional lives through a lens that doesn’t always link to or help with wellbeing. Is a higher position/salary actually going to make me feel healthier? Is that the only way I can progress my career in ways that make me feel fulfilled? Is a more senior role really just ‘more stress’? There are many other ways to look at these factors, especially from a wellbeing perspective.

Identify one’s own ‘sweet spot’

The sweet spot is a place where a combination of factors results in a maximum response for a given amount of effort. To ensure our long term wellbeing as educators it’s important we learn to identify our own sweet spot and the broader implications for our career as an educator.

Describe and practically apply the PERMA model (Positive emotion, Engagement, Relationships, Meaning and Accomplishments)

This is a central tenet of Positive Psychology, which is increasingly recognised and applied to great effect in educational settings. Many teachers have heard of it, but this is a chance to get a real look at and feel for it.

Identify any career transitioning and planning elements that could be beneficial from a wellbeing perspective

Many teachers don’t know where they want to end up in their careers or sector. By identifying their sweet spot and applying PERMA, they can begin to build plans for their careers that ensure wellbeing is a key player in the mix.

MODULE 5 - Career and professional wellbeing

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The Wellbeing Toolkit has been developed by NESLI in consultation with a cross-section of Australian K-12 stakeholders.​

The Wellbeing Toolkit is partially funded by the Australian School of Applied Management. ASAM will provide $750,000 of seed funding over the next 3 years.​

The Wellbeing Toolkit responds to the insights and recommendations flowing from the Principal Health & Wellbeing Survey.​

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Office of the National Director
National Excellence in School Leadership Initiative, NESLI
Level 3, 607 Bourke Street
Melbourne, VIC 3000, Australia

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Phone: 1300 938 470
Email: info@NESLI.org
Web: NESLI.org

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