Faculty Wellbeing: An Opening Exercise

Faculty wellbeing is a focus for us this year at Montclair Kimberley Academy, as it likely is for many schools. Below are the slides we used to structure our division’s first in-service meeting. It helped us to not only set the tone for faculty wellbeing, but also to surface as many ideas as possible. (Such surfacing is optimally possible when people are feeling positive and working with a full tank at the start of a year.)

Feel free to borrow or adapt the slides for your own use. I don’t think it’s an overstatement to say that teacher health, both mental and physical, should be a global concern.

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The first slide is a question, the point of which is to clear space for your faculty to think together about themselves and their community.

The next slide builds off the first. Each sentence stem from the box on the right was written on a giant piece of butcher paper and then placed in the corner of a room. Groups of faculty wrote their answers on the butcher paper and then rotated to a new question.

As they rotated, faculty members both read what others had written (the classic “wisdom walk” concept) and added emphasis.

So, as an administrative team, we now have dozens (and dozens!) of ideas to consider as we build out our wellbeing strategies for the year. I say “strategies” because we’re trying to avoid one-off morale building events. Instead, we want to work on long-term commitments that play out, consistently, over time; we want to tie most actions intended to support wellbeing to larger goals. So, for example, instead of simply hosting a barbecue (which could be a one-off event), we may set a strategic goal of offering seasonal opportunities for the faculty to spend time together in a social and congenial environment.

If you’re approaching the topic of faculty wellbeing from a similar or different angle, I’d love to connect. You can use my contact form or holler at me on Twitter (@sjvalentine).

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