School News & Blog

August 26, 2014

Health and Stress Relief for Teachers

Today I had the privilege of attending a presentation by Jan Gudkovs, a psychologist from Warwick, to Independent Schools Queensland’s School Wellbeing Workshop in Brisbane.

Jan had been invited to talk to this group by Jenene Rosser, ISQ’s person responsible for helping Independent Schools in Queensland roll out the Australian Curriculum. It turns out this is not Jenene’s real passion, she just happens to be very good at it (actually, she is the sort of person who I suspect is very good at most things). It turns out that Jenene’s real passion is promoting whole of school wellbeing — not just talking about it, but getting in and working out how to make it happen.

Jan Gudkovs has spent a large part of her work as a psychologist developing and delivering meaningful programs in the area of health and stress education. Most recently, she has designed and delivered, along with a team of expert practitioners in psychology, dietetics and exercise, a three month Healthy Living Program for the chronically ill. This program, conducted at the Centre for Healthy Living in Warwick, has produced very positive results, which have been documented and reported. (Great to see Elia Faa, one of our school parents, on the team as dietician, helping to deliver the program.)

Jan has now adapted this program for teachers — influenced to a degree by her role as the Chairman of the Governing Council of The School of Total Education. I have worked with Jan in different roles for many years, but had never seen a presentation about her research and programs in this area and I am searching for superlatives to express my wonder. It was such a thorough yet understandable exposition about research on stress as the main factor in most, if not all, chronic diseases, and antidotes to stress as a preventative to chronic health conditions.

Jenene Rosser was keen for her School Wellbeing group to hear about Jan’s research and, needless to say, Jenene and her group of 40 or so principals and school leaders were similarly impressed.

The first one day intensive for teachers has already been held by Jan’s team in Toowoomba, under the auspices of the Institute of Total Education, with very positive feedback from participating teachers.