Health Mentors are not only having an impact on the health and wellbeing of pupils, but on teaching staff too. In this post Chris Lincoln shares the idea behind and the impact of his Staff After-School Clubs.
Chris (pictured left) was an Evolve Health Mentor for five years in Lincolnshire, part of the Evolve National PE Development Team for two years. He was awarded National Health Mentor of the Year for 2015/16, becoming Regional Manager for East Midlands in August 2016. He hosts Evolve’s quarterly #herochat hour on Twitter. Chris is a Premier League-accredited journalist, writes for the Blasting News website, and has previously worked as a football coach for Arsenal FC, delivering sessions in London, Greece and Indonesia. He was also a performance analyst at AFC Bournemouth. Chris holds a BSc (Hons) Sports Development and Coaching Sciences degree. He is a husband and dad, and also finds time to run marathons and compete as a triathlete.
What is a Staff After-School Club?
It is an opportunity for teaching staff to go for a social and stress-busting run for half an hour after the school day.
What was the inspiration behind this and how did it start?
I was training for a marathon and some of the teaching staff were saying they would like to get running more, but hadn’t got the time. So I decided to bolt on a half-hour Staff After-School Club to my day, to give teachers the chance to take a break from planning and marking, and go for a social run around the local area.
How does it work?
We meet at 4.30pm and started by running a short distance, which we gradually built up throughout the weeks. After a team discussion, we now run different routes to keep us motivated and engaged. The general atmosphere is relaxed and fun.
What are the benefits?
There are obvious physical health benefits, but there are also mental wellbeing boosts; it’s a break from marking and a good way of shaking off the stress of the school day. I’ve seen staff relationships grow and strengthen, and individuals have met personal targets.
Staff said the club made them healthier and helped to give them a weekly goal, both within the club and their own physical activity sessions. It reduced stress and allowed them to forget any negative occurrences that happened during the day. It also allowed them to switch off from their workload for a short period of time.
What examples can you give us?
We often run past the local park, where children from the school see their teachers being physically active, thus encouraging them to do the same.
Several teachers have participated in obstacle course competitions, such as Tough Mudder; teachers regularly take part in Park Run; and some run even further in their spare time. Others have signed up for half-marathons. Two of the staff, who had barely run before, have now achieved distances of 10 miles plus.
How have you developed this idea?
I also took this idea into another school, where teachers joined my ‘wake and shake’ sessions twice a week at the start of the day. This included various circuits of activities for the children and staff to complete together.
Any challenges or issues to be aware of?
The greatest challenge was the range of abilities. Some went running regularly, whilst others had barely run at all. Yet because we managed to get around 14 staff on board with the idea, it allowed people to pair off and run at their own speed. The faster group would often stop and add stretches to their routine to allow the rest of the group to catch up.
How can other Health Mentors develop a club?
I am happy to share my presentation. Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow me on Twitter @chrisbourne2win