The secret behind Wellbeing Bags!
It was a gruelling first term at the British International School, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. It started during the rainy season in mid August and finished on 16th December. I am a PE teacher and in an international school setting that means an extremely long list of extracurricular clubs, fixtures, swimming galas, local and international tournaments.
Last year during the same period I worked 21 days in a row, a real test of my physical and mental fortitude. This year I was responsible for leading a U15 sports trip to Shanghai and delivering a whole school sports day to 850+ students, an easy term in comparison. My colleagues had the same test of physical and mental stamina as I did last year, and from what I recall by the end of those 21 days after such a hectic term you only felt one thing, exhaustion!
So our PE department, which consists of 4 PE staff, 1 TA and 3 coaches in the last 6 weeks of term went from Shanghai to Phuket, Pataya and finally Bangkok all the time giving all our emotional energy to students competing not to mention the physical exertions of coaching and managing students.
I needed to do something to show my friends and colleagues that there was light at the end of the tunnel and we could make it. The idea was originally suggested by @abbiemann1982 as part @MartynReah #teacher5aday. If you don’t know #teacher5aday is a movement, a group of wonderful educators who are concerned with improving the work life balance that so many of us struggle with. There have been so many different initiatives all of which can be found if you search the hash tag #teacher5aday on twitter. The wellbeing bags are just another layer to an ever increasing tapestry of interesting, challenging and thought provoking initiatives.
So during the last week of term when everyone arrived back from all over South East Asia, a wellbeing bag was waiting for all PE teachers, TA and coaches. A small token to show them how I valued their hard work and support. To give them a little something to make it through that last demanding week. Most schools last week of term, things begin to ‘wind down’, not so in the international setting-inter house tournaments, whole school assemblies and yet more fixtures.
What did the bags include? I tried to make them personal to my friends, my colleagues but generally they had vitamin tablets, sweets, chocolates, tea bags, ice coffee (Vietnamese speciality) and other assorted treats. The aim was simple, make my colleagues feel appreciated and give them the little something to make it to the end. I shared my efforts on twitter and I was delighted to see how many people responded positively. So if your friends and colleagues need a pick up which might help restore some work life balance then go for it, wellbeing bags made me happy and I didn’t even get one!