Teacher wellness activities should be more than one-off professional development days. We explore fitness-based staff wellness ideas for teachers to promote physical and mental health.
The Importance of Staff Wellness Ideas For Teachers
Teachers spend most of their days focusing on others. They pour their hearts and souls into students. And although teacher wellness has been a topic of discussion for many years, there has been a surge of conversations around the importance of staff wellness for teachers following the pandemic.
As a country, we have seen more and more teachers leaving the profession. Headlines like “Why teachers in America are leaving the profession in droves” have spotlighted the challenges facing the teaching profession. Many of the reasons for teachers leaving include low pay, large class loads, student behavior, and poor work-life balance. And we should address and tackle these issues head-on. Yes, we mean pay teachers more! One of the best staff wellness ideas for teachers is paying them a competitive salary.
But we should also consider what we are doing to support teacher wellness beyond just salary and explore different ways that we can promote wellness for our teachers throughout the school year.
Different Types of Teacher Wellness Activities
Wellness is a broad and all-encompassing term. Wellness can come in the form of mental health, emotional health, and physical health.
Currently, most teacher wellness activities aim to address mental and emotional health. For example, professional development days are organized to try and address teacher burnout. Or teachers are encouraged to participate in different types of training around social-emotional learning.
Alternatively, teachers are partnered up as “morale pals,” giving gifts and kind notes to one another. Other forms of daily or weekly encouragement aim to champion teachers’ spirits as they work through the school year.
An often overlooked form of teacher wellness activities is the promotion of fitness and physical health. An occasional staff yoga class or fitness workout is offered at most schools. For example, a teacher or instructor will host a “Wellness Wednesday” after school for teachers to workout together.
But there is more that we can do to tap into the physical health of our teachers, which will, in turn, also support their mental and emotional health.
"What's Early Release Got to do with It?" Everything!! We used the rest of the day @ MMS to: build relationships, fellowship, and exercise: Team kick ball, Yoga, and Card Games. Breakout sessions for Teacher Wellness! One! #WellnessHCS #WarkHawks #HenryCares pic.twitter.com/x79TAvU8w8— Sherrial Clark (@Sherrial1) October 16, 2022
Fitness-Based Staff Wellness Ideas For Teachers
With so much on their plates, teachers often struggle to find consistent time and energy to exercise. Fitness-based staff wellness ideas for teachers can reframe exercise as part of the school culture. This can take shape in many different forms. Here are a few basic steps schools can take to promote fitness-based staff wellness ideas for teachers.
Step 1: First, most schools likely have a gymnasium or fitness center. As a school, dedicate time for teachers to use this space to workout. This can be before, during, or after school.
Step 2: Next, offer workout programs and fitness classes for teachers to choose from. This doesn’t need to be a myriad of live instructors; rather, you can tap into a tech-based exercise platform. Going the digital route also allows teachers who cannot workout at the dedicated times to access the same great wellness opportunities.
Step 3: Create groups to promote camaraderie. Accountability is one of the most powerful ways to encourage staff wellness. And simply put, working out with others is just more fun!
Step 4: Incentivize teachers to participate through prizes, challenges, and other ways to encourage teachers to take part in the wellness program. Again, using technology can support this tracking and monitoring.
Bonus Content! Check out two awesome wellness workouts from our library of hundreds of workouts. Below is a fun yoga flow and a high intensity boxing bootcamp class.
An Organized Approach
It is important to note that while fitness-based staff wellness ideas for teachers often happen organically, structure and organization will only bolster staff wellness. Have internal conversations about who will lead the initiative and implementation of the staff wellness program.
Often when it comes to fitness, a physical education teacher is best equipped to help schedule and deliver workouts. And while they can take the lead, a group composed of administrators or other teachers in the building will promote a more school-wide adoption of fitness-based staff wellness.
PLT4M’s Approach To Supporting Staff Wellness Ideas For Teachers
When creating a fitness-based staff wellness program, tap into the resources available. While many schools utilize PLT4M with their physical education students, schools are now using this app and resource for teachers as well. With over 30 different modules delivered right to an app, teachers can access a wide variety of workouts that interest them. These different workout modules include:
- Personal Fitness
- Strength Training
- Dance Fitness
- Bodyweight Boxing
- Stretching and Mobility
When creating a staff wellness program with PLT4M, teachers are added to a group within the PLT4M app. From there, they will access all the different workouts when they log in. In addition, if schools offer participation prizes, they can use the activity report to see what teachers are eligible for based on their workouts or activities.
Now, both students and teachers alike can utilize PLT4M to access all sorts of fun and engaging activities for exercise. This bolsters the school-wide culture of health and fitness and can become something the whole community can rally behind.
And while PLT4M is a great resource to lay the foundation, you can also create other fitness-based activities like walking clubs, running groups, or sports and games that teachers can participate in. No matter how you approach it though, the goal is to promote physical activity and fitness.
More Than Just Wellness Wednesday Ideas For Teachers
We have all seen the social media posts for wellness Wednesdays at schools and companies alike. And while starting small is a good thing, taking staff wellness ideas past the occasional ceremonial gesture and turning it into a dedicated initiative is powerful.
By creating structure and organization with PLT4M’s workouts and technology, schools can move past the occasional wellness Wednesday ideas for teachers. For example, teachers who previously participated in an occasional yoga class now have access to hundreds of workouts to choose from.
One teacher who participated in their staff wellness program had this to say,
“With the new workout programs I did, I was able to track and see my progress with PLT4M, and in turn, I got really into it. I haven’t worked out consistently in years, and now I go three times a week.”
Key Takeaways on Staff Wellness Ideas For Teachers
Staff wellness ideas for teachers need to turn from ideas to action. As many large companies focus on employee wellness, so should schools and districts. And while every teacher might be interested in something different regarding fitness and physical activity, opportunities should be created for consistent teacher wellness activities.
And while we have focused on fitness and physical health, it is essential to note the power physical activity has on mental and emotional health. With a more active group of teachers, schools will see less stressed and happier individuals. The science backs it up!
If you are interested in creating a staff wellness program for your school, let PLT4M help! We currently partner with over 1,200 schools in fitness and physical education and are seeing more and more schools adopt PLT4M for students and teachers alike. As a comprehensive fitness offering, an entire school and district can support better physical, mental, and social health for everyone that walks into the building.