One way of improving your work life balance at school is to start an after work staff sports club . A couple of years ago I started a beginners running group starting at 4.30 on a Wednesday evening. We are fortunate where the school is positioned to have some beautiful countryside so finding a routes was easy. I was surprised with the interest in the club. I aimed the club at total beginners as to be inclusive. We started off with running and walking and slowly built up the distance over the weeks. It’s now 2 years on and the after work running club is still going strong. We have built up from a distance of a mile with walks to a distance of 5 miles non stop with some pretty steep hills. After the run every one feels like they have had a tough workout and have forgotten about deadlines and school politics for a while.
The advantages of this type of staff activity as I see it is are as follows.
- It’s free team bonding – better than any expensive course you can buy into.
- It keeps your body and mind fit.
- It helps to keep stress levels down and staff illness down.
- It is regular and people will look forward to coming along. If it happens every week then people can dip in and out of it.
- It is addictive – you will be surprised how many extra people come along once you start, especially if you pitch it at total beginners.
- You get to talk to people that you don’t normally talk to from different curriculum areas. Our deputy head and assistant head have both come on runs.
- It is an alternative from going to the pub straight after work. Exercise first and go to the pub afterwards if you must.
- You may find that the club spills into the holidays. The running club is so successful at my school that runs are also planned during the holidays – not from school but from different peoples houses and locations. Make friends as well.
- Will look good in your performance review as a whole school activity – work/life balance for staff is very important and if you can contribute to that then you are doing a good thing.
Depending on how keen you are you may want to enrol on an UK athletics leadership in running fitness course. These excellent courses teach you how to run a beginners running group.
Also the website Jeffgalloway.com has got some excellent advice on running and walking for beginners.
This maybe a start of term activity but why don’t you send an e-mail around to all staff with a time and a place and get running!
Please let us know how you get on.
The Classrooms and Staffrooms team
- The work-life balance basics: top stress-busting tips for teachers (schoolsimprovement.net)
- Work-Life Balance … (aboutteaching.wordpress.com)
- Work-Life Balance: Do You Live to Work, or Work to Live? (thehighcalling.org)