“We are rescued by love when someone bequeaths dignity, worth, recognition, gratitude upon us, encouragement for us because of who we are and what we do. We simply cannot grasp this alone: that we are precious, and amazing, and of inestimable value, unless this truth is mirrored into our being by another person. We need to give and receive support and encouragement for one another as ‘daily bread’.”
Br. Curtis Almquist, Society of Saint John the Evangelist, Sept. 20, 2019 https://www.ssje.org/
We end this July series of “i2 Resources for You” with the theme of Wellness. Going into this pandemic-clouded, socially ripe but turbulent time, there is absolutely no more relevant, no more crucial, no more challenging call than to nourish wellness within ourselves as faculty knowing that our wellness impacts our students and all individual wellness impacts the whole teaching/learning experience. After all, we can teach students all of the things that we want them to know, but at the end of the day, if they don’t leave our classes feeling more confident, more in control, more able to handle challenges, and more valued than they did before they entered it, then what have we gained? Today’s resources come to you from the amazing Lauren Powell, Upper School Counselor and Director of Wellness.
We have all been changed in small and big ways by the many current events in the world and our students (whether on a video chat or in-person) this fall will be fundamentally different than those that filled our seats last August. Anxiety levels are at an all-time high, and youth are quite rational in wondering if their futures will look radically different than they had initially imagined, as are adults. As faculty we don’t have all the answers, but we can use our fields of discipline (whether they involve statistics, peer reviewed science articles, understanding human behavior, critically analyzing written words, or contextualizing current events by understanding the past) as a springboard for addressing the big questions and uncertainties ahead. And we can do so in ways that recognize our needs, and the varied needs of the human beings around us. We hope these offerings are a good reminder that ultimately we are “human beings” not “human doings.”
Things to listen to:
- “What is good for us is good for others.” Video (6 min.) Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs reminds us of the importance of all our ‘needs’ on the way to ‘Self-Actualization’. Scott Barry Kaufman, Ph.D., Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs Reimagined for the 21st Century
- Interview (40 min.) with teacher, author, advocate Carla Tanitllo Philibert about the many and various demands placed on teachers. Carla Tantillo Philibert—Everyday Self-Care for Educators: Tools and Strategies for Well-Being…
Things to read:
- Quick read on what you might expect from students (and how you might respond) this fall: COVID-19’s Impact on Students’ Academic and Mental Wellbeing
- If you feel like you need a boost and are in the mood for some inspirational teaching philosophy, check out this blog: “Radical Hope: A Teaching Manifesto.” Although it’s written from the perspective of a history college professor, we think it would resonate with many.
Things to watch:
- Inspirational video (18 min.) about the power of creativity and the power of positive psychology: Scott Barry Kaufman, The Messy Minds of Creative People
- Got 60 seconds? Watch how “Appreciation, Apology, or Aha” can build community in your classroom with your in-person and virtual students.
- Spend six minutes with Shauna L. Shapiro, author of Using Mindfulness and Self-compassion Practices to Rewire Students Brains for Calm, Clarity, and Thriving
Something to browse:
- Check out this set of CASEL CARES resources which feature the intersection of SEL (socio-emotional learning) and COVID-19. Key takeaway: Focus first on secure relationships and emotional safety, and prioritize social and emotional competence alongside academics as fundamental to quality education.
A Thing to subscribe to:
- Everyone can be a part of: The Happy Teacher Revolution
A Webinar to attend:
- CASEL (Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning) offers weekly webinars. On 7/31, you can tune in to : “Starting an Unprecedented School Year with SEL to Reunite, Renew, and Thrive”
A personal tool for wellness: Wheel of Wellness Activity
Tools to use for your classroom
- Emotion Check-ins, Breathing (try the 4-7-8- breath), Guided Meditation, or Classroom Yoga (here’s a video to start.
- Need some ideas for building community and student wellness in your class? Check out these divisional strategies. Need some prompts for ice-breakers or warm-ups on the first day of class? Check these out!
FACULTY RECOMMENDATION OF THE WEEK
Featuring Dean Julius!
Wellness, to me, is more than considering our physical and mental health. Wellness is active. It requires mindfulness of ourselves and others.
I’m an active meditator, it’s something I have found a lot of healing from and I can’t recommend it enough. Meditation saved my life, frankly. There are numerous meditation apps out there to help the newbies among us, but simply taking 10 minutes to sit down in a quiet place and just be, just breathe, is something we can all do without an app. You don’t need to understand zen to find moments of it. And I’m always around if anyone wants a brain to pick about meditating. But if you’re looking for apps to try: Headspace and Calm are both great. There’s also another great app called SuperBetter by scholar and videogamer Jane McGonigal that turns wellness and improving our lives into a neat little video game! Check it out!
The other thing I would recommend is the importance of being mindful of our neighbors and their wellness in these trying times, both with respect to COVID-19 and Black Lives Matter. At the end of the day, in my view, the mental and physical health of others impacts our health. Which means doing everything we can to mitigate the spread of this virus. And educating ourselves to be better neighbors, colleagues, and friends. Some things I watched recently that I think everyone should see: I Am Not Your Negro, 13th, and Detroit were all great films available on Netflix. I’m also reading So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo and have Stamped from the Beginning: A Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America by Ibram X. Kendi in my docket to read once I’m done with Oluo’s book.
Have you got a different favorite resource related to teaching/learning with wellness in mind? Do you want to be featured in any of the upcoming teaching/learning emails with a recommendation of your own? Reach out!
With gratitude for all you do,
Lauren, Julie, and Dean