Educators use part of their institute day to learn self-care and gain a boost of energy
Teachers and administrators in Lincolnshire-Prairie View School District 103 used the last 30 minutes of their professional development day Friday to boost their energy with exercise, music, meditation techniques and nutritional tips as a way to combat the exhausting effect of working through the COVID-19 pandemic.
"It's almost March, and nothing has changed," said Gayathri Kalyanaraman, administrative assistant at Daniel Wright Middle School in Lincolnshire. She was bouncing along with a cardio class projected on a large monitor in a classroom Friday afternoon. Students were not in class as teachers and staff attended Zoom meetings all day to review the last trimester and plan for the next.
"It looks like more of the same for next year," said her afternoon workout partner, Nina Nusbaum, assistant principal at the school.
Dozens of the 300 employees of the district took part in the Zoom cardio class and meditation technique class, as well as listened to music and attended a class on nutrition to help maintain their energy.
"Taking time for mental health is important," Nusbaum said after her workout. "It's a burst of energy, for sure."
She said it was evident the stress of working in the pandemic had built to a breaking point and the change in routine was good for the entire staff.
Staff members normally have three institute days each school year but never had included self-care instruction or activities until now.
"The pandemic this year and last year is taking a toll on everybody," Nusbaum said. "We say 'be positive and be strong,' but eventually those become just words. We produced that burst of energy today. My phone keeps beeping. They are excited about this."