What a treat it is to have time, having a moment to exhale. I’ve written and re-written this or another blog post a few times and I’m finally ready…it’s time!
With the winter break, March break, and great Cohort 21 chats, having times and spaces to reflect on my practice are powerful moments that are a bit unique to education. The downtime for me is so valuable with the frantic pace and the many hats that I end up wearing in the full swing of the school year.
This year I passionately took on, “How Might We support student wellness in our greater school community?” I currently teach Phys-Ed (PHE) and the rich conversations that we’re having around Stress Management and Mental Health weren’t reaching enough students (Grade 11 PHE is an elective course). Anecdotally, I’m seeing a struggling student population and through the pandemic, and even now, PHE has been the canary in the coal mine – many of the students that are at or near crisis are being identified through my programming.
I’m proud to share that my Action Plan has been a success! I met with our in-house experts, such as social workers, guidance department, academic coordinator, and our students to identify some of the key topics to address. The students then went through a scaffolded and iterative process working through their topics, carefully considering their message and resources. We are currently displaying relevant themed (anxiety, addiction, self-esteem, self-care, etc.) presentations on our digital screens throughout the school promoting strong wellness themes with interactive and supportive resources.
Questions that I’m still left with…How can we move students to a place where they are ready to emotionally open themselves to “the work” needed? How can we move students through the trauma they’ve experienced to regain their resilience? How does screen time impact our wellness and how much influence do we really have with limiting or reducing it? It’s really a rabbit hole that I’ve enjoyed going down!
My school is semestered and this gives me a second chance every year to learn from my mistakes and iterate. This year there were some missteps and opportunities lost along the way. This time to reflect has helped me to learn from those experiences and come back to the table even better.
In a full circle moment, my students’ presentations have helped me with my self-compassion throughout this process. I’ll be back better than ever next go around.
Erik Erhardt – Can We Talk?
The Wall Street Journal: The Facebook Files – How Instagram impacts teen girls mental health
Dr. Jim Loehr – Mental Toughness (speaking to yourself)
Donne Ashworth: Life, Loss and Learning
Johan Hari – Stolen Focus
Dare to Lead – Living into our Values