SPENCERVILLE — Dee Dickrede easily could have fallen asleep, but she had a room full of fourth-graders to get back to.
“It felt good, very good,” the relaxed Spencerville School teacher said after a 15-minute chair massage Friday.
A room at the school became a mini-spa Friday, with licensed massage therapists and graduates of the Institute of Therapeutic Massage in Lima helping the school give staff a much needed treated.
The idea to offer a little stress-reducer came from guidance counselor Melissa Prichard.
“There is a lot of stress going on in education, a lot of changes, and a lot of the teachers feel that stress and pressure,” Prichard said. “I just thought it would be nice to pamper our teachers and let them know we appreciate them.”
The Institute had planned for its students to do the massages, but midterms made it difficult for them to get away. Instead, school staff and graduates Angi Frisch, Jennifer Maag, Susan Oehlhof and Angie Wood volunteered their time.
Tony Meyer, the Institute's assistant dean of students and general manager, said the school is starting a community outreach program and plans to use events to offer students more opportunities to practice.
Teachers used planning periods to drop in for their massages. About 40 signed up, with more deciding at the last minute to give it a try.
“It was wonderful. I felt good,” said Karen Miller, sixth- and seventh-grade math and reading teacher. “I think everybody greatly appreciates it.”
Teachers said the new state evaluation system and new state core standards add to their stress levels. And state-mandated tests are just around the corner. Miller said it is the most stress she has seen in her 30-year teaching career.
“I have never seen as much turmoil in education,” she said. “It is wearing on everybody. I am glad they are attempting to help us out a little bit.”
Staff forgot the stress for awhile Friday as they closed their eyes and let the therapists do their work. Some said the massage would ease them through the rest of the day.
“I feel very relaxed,” fourth-grade teacher Jenny Huber said. “I am very thankful they are doing this. It is really great.”
Dickrede’s pupils were in art class when she sneaked away for her massage. She hopes it is not the last one she gets.
“I never had any kind of massage before,” she said. “Now that I have had this, it would be nice to have it a little more often.”