High school teachers de-stress "in the chair’ | SummitDaily.com

High school teachers de-stress "in the chair’

FARMER’S KORNER – Parents know children can be stress-inducing. For teachers, multiply that stress factor by 20 or 30.

Take Karl Barth, for example. Barth teaches science and the high school’s leadership class, coaches, is working on his master’s degree and, earlier this week, a computer virus swallowed the new science curriculum he’d written for the department. And that doesn’t figure in his personal life.

“I don’t have stress – I don’t have time,” Barth joked.

But other teachers and high school staff members are perfectly willing to admit they’re stressed, and since November, they’ve been doing something about it. Front office secretary Jacquie Miller and a fellow teacher presented principals with the idea of bringing in a massage therapist. They got the OK, and massage therapist Peter Newton has been visiting the school as often as twice a week for the past three months.

“There’s computer pain, letting all these worries settle in your neck or back – it all moves around every week,” said athletics secretary Theresa Campbell. “And we always ask him, “When will you be back?'”

Newton said many area businesses are discovering the benefits of bringing massage therapists into the workplace. He visits restaurants, dental offices and other high-stress environments, often trading out his services, he said.

“I think employers up here understand that people work hard and play hard,” Newton said. “They also understand you’ll be more productive if you’re not stressed out.”

The teachers schedule the chair massages during their lunch hours and pay for the massages themselves. Principal Frank Mencin said he hasn’t sat down in the chair himself and tries to get his relaxation before school starts.

“Some people prefer hot tubs, some like cold showers – I try to get in a half-hour run or on the bike in the morning,” Mencin said. “But I think this is a healthy opportunity for the teachers.”


Reid Williams can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 237, or rwilliams@summitdaily.com.

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