WWAM - What schools are already doing

At the end of August, the QTU emailed principals and Union Reps urging them to get ready for WWAM, and already schools have started sharing their stories about how they are taking actions to address workload issues and member wellbeing issues. Here is what some of those schools are doing.

Warwick Central State School

At Warwick Central State School, the members participated in the WHS Queensland Happy, Healthier You survey after they experienced a high level of illness in 2016.  The result is an active wellness schedule that includes walking groups, yoga, coffee debriefs and Wellness Wednesday morning teas (healthy food only) resulting in the compilation of a healthy recipe book that will be published for staff at the end of the year.

Benowa State School

Each term, a staff meeting is dedicated to wellbeing, including meditation with our in-school wellness coach Trisha David, weekly tips in our Benowa Bugle on how to stay mentally and physically well, Tom’s Tigers Fitness or a session at the Benowa Bowls Club. Wellbeing is everyone’s business, and we need to make time to put back into the staff that keep the school ticking over.

Pacific Pines State High School

We have a week eight whole-school staff meeting dedicated to wellbeing. Staff volunteer to run sessions so that colleagues can participate in an activity that they wouldn’t normally do/have the time to do. All staff are invited, not just teaching staff. Some of the activities include:

  • pilates
  • reading
  • walking
  • drawing
  • running
  • colouring
  • soccer
  • Auslan (sign language)
  • karate
  • golf.

Next term, we are adding volunteering at the Animal Welfare League. If a staff member wants to run a session, they email our deputy for approval. One week prior to the meeting, a sign-on sheet is made available, which you also sign on the day when you attend your chosen activity. Since we have started the program this year, the activities offered have changed to meet the interests of staff. Various sports are on offer, but they are dependent upon getting enough numbers for teams.

Capricornia School of Distance Education

Relationships is a core CSDE value, which led to the development of our Wellbeing Action Group (WAG). Our staff are very appreciative of the effort that goes into enhancing and nurturing wellbeing. CSDE has a range of activities to cater and support staff wellbeing.

  • WAG – designed to cater for staff and students’ wellbeing by creating events and sessions.
  • Gratitude jar – staff write a comment on a strip of paper. At the end of the term, these are collated into scrapbooks.
  • Gratitude chocolate posters – our leadership team makes a poster from chocolates and other yummy treats.
  • Compliment Friday – compliment any staff member to make that staff member feel good.
  • Walk and talks – for distance education teachers, we do a lot of… sitting. Why not have a "walk and talk" chat with your head of department? 
  • Crazy hat staff breakfast – staff donated money towards a cooked breakfast. BYO crazy hat!
  • Dress as a pirate day – teachers dressed up as pirates and gave a donation to charity.

Merrimac State High School

We have been implementing numerous strategies since the beginning of the year to improve staff morale and increase staff wellbeing. The latest thing we have organised is for our regional mental health coach to come to do a workshop with our staff on the next student free day called “Managing your energy, not your time”, which deals with the issue of being overworked and under energised. We are also running some “Wheel of Wellbeing” activities on this day for staff, which are based on positive psychology, and are putting on a BBQ lunch for the staff. We have been trying to do things like this whenever we have time since the beginning of the year.

Oakey State School

QTU members at Oakey State School have been active in trying to celebrate and recognise the great things that teachers and their colleagues do.  Adopting a strategy often used to recognise and reward positive student behaviours, the staff have adopted a staff shout-out strategy, where over a fortnight people fill in a form and celebrate the little things they do to make life that little bit easier. Whether it's cleaning out the sports shed, stepping in to help out in setting up a room, or always starting the day with a positive approach, members add it to the board and celebrate at the staff meeting once a month.  This helps remind everyone that every little thing they do counts for someone. They also have made sure the QTU poster reminding everyone that domestic violence is a workplace issue is accessible to all members and other employees.

Queensland Teachers' Journal, Vol 122 No 7, 6 October 2017, p16