The Healthy Teachers program is coming to Wagga for the first time, shining a light on the teaching profession with concerns for their wellbeing.
A teacher’s role encompasses more than just facilitating learning, but also a never ending list of shaping young minds and managing behaviour.
According to statistics from WorkCover 2014, teachers made more mental stress claims than any other industry.
The Riverina Anglican College will be the first regional school to implement the program and their Deputy Principal Michael Stubbs said he hopes teachers will take up this opportunity.
“I think the more supportive workplace we have, the better it is for our teachers and what they present to the students,” Mr Stubbs said.
The Riverina was chosen after Xceler8 Fitness Wagga approached the program and asked to bring this resource to Wagga, with some of the gym members being teachers at TRAC.
Initially a program for children, the founders realised there weren’t many resources and support services available to teachers compared to students.
The four-week program is two fold: firstly, it involves a coaching program that is sent to teachers personally through an online program, allowing them to privately raise concerns and be assisted by experts in the field.
The second aspect of the program is a video presented to the group of teachers, looking at topics ranging from the day to day workings, their wellness overall and in all aspects of their lives.
Leading the program, Guy Leech said they launched the program following a survey which revealed the biggest challenges school principal’s faced.
“Teachers are burning out, taking many absences for work-related stress as teachers are dealing with pressures from students, the school and expectations from parents,” Mr Leech said.
“They’ve got the most stressful job in Australia.
“There is a need for teachers to get better at time management and resilience and to be more inspired in their work.”
The program focuses on primary and secondary teachers and has been successfully implemented in four schools in QLD and NSW.
“Principals have told us that the teacher absentee levels have dropped and the program has positively affected their personal lives,” Mr Leech said.
Mr Leech said it was “challenging” to create a program that wouldn’t “burden” teachers with an extra load.
Paul Timms is also part of Healthy Schools and he said after a conversation with Michael Stubbs, TRAC became the leading school in the Riverina to implement this program.
"We start with the teachers and take a whole school approach to wellbeing to create a sustainable, high performance culture that flows on to the students and their families," he said.
“We have made this an affordable service as we see the need for this to be implemented in every Riverina school.”
Mr Timms said teachers shouldn’t have to travel to Melbourne or Sydney to get support.
“Anything that is in a city, can be made regional,” he said.
“It’s so important to provide this, because mental health is a major problem in regional centres.”
TRAC is looking to begin the Healthy Teachers program in week’s two or three next term, which will be strongly encouraged for all teachers to join.
The school will also host the first regional healthy schools summit on August 24, an event open to all 231 schools in the Riverina.