Check-In, Monday, January 6th

Good morning, County! Welcome to 2020! I hope today finds you rested and recharged after a well deserved holiday break.

As many of you may know, this marks my last year in the local President’s chair. That means that this seat will be coming up for competition in a few short months time. It is a full time release position, which does provide a nice break from the classroom, however, it also means a fair amount of after school time. If teachers need to reach out, that usually happens after the 3:00 bell. If any of you are considering a run for this position, I invite you to contact me for a bit of a “insiders view” of what the job entails.

In the final few months of my term, I will be continuing to focus on teacher wellness, and in particular, mental well being as one of my key mandates. With the winter now upon us and flu season right around the corner, the potential for schools to find themselves short on subs remains a harsh reality. As teachers are asked to fill in for their colleagues, their own individual physical and emotional energy reserves become strained. In a rather predictable spiral, this leaves them more vulnerable to illness and absenteeism. 

However, there have been some very interesting studies that have emerged over the past few years on how employers can mitigate some of these risks. One area that holds a great deal of promise is the establishing of a mentally healthy workplace. In fact, one recent report from Deloitte Insights showed that companies that committed to improved mental health investments saw a return of $1.62 for every dollar spent on these programs. That ROI increased to $2.18 once the program had been in place for three years. In one case, Bell, a company who has made a very public commitment to mental wellness, experienced a whopping $4.10 ROI.

Now, I strongly dislike comparing schools to businesses, and unfortunately, there has been limited research on the benefits of educational districts implementing such programs. However, the research that has been done has been very promising, with initial results not only pointing to a reduction in sick time, but also to increased student achievement. Again, this work is very new, and a great deal more research needs to be done before too many solid conclusions can be drawn. However, the preliminary results show promise, and over the next few months we will be looking for ways to encourage conversations about teacher mental health and well being across our region.

In other news, at our next local meeting on Wednesday, January 15th, Erica Ans and Shelley Luddington will be putting their names forward to serve on our local executive as 1st VP, Professional Development. If you wish to find out more about our candidates, simply click on the link on our homepage. We will be accepting nominations from the floor that evening, and the election will take place then. Thanks to both Erica and Shelley for volunteering for this position.

Also, please don’t forget about our New Member Conference! This is a great way for teachers to find out more about the NSTU, and what it is that we actually do for members. The conference will be held on February 21st and February 22nd, and if you are interested, please click on this link!

Finally, the HRRC is putting on the first of a series of pre-retirement sessions on Tuesday, January 14th at 4:30 pm here at the County office. Email taraarseneau@nstu.ca to register.

That’s all for today, County! Have a great start to 2020!

 

 

 

 

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