In the past year, we have heard over and over again that in order to promote student wellbeing, we need to prioritize teacher wellbeing. If teachers aren’t heard, valued, appreciated, and supported in their own wellbeing how can they be expected to support their students’ wellbeing?
Filtered by tag: mental wellbeing
Perhaps you’ve heard the story about the person who falls into a hole in the street. He walks along the street, falls into a hole, and climbs out to the same spot where he started. He walks back along the street and falls into the hole again. In fact, he continues falling in the hole, climbing back out, and returning back to where he started, until finally someone shows him a parallel street, a different way to get where he’s going.
In reflecting on WellAhead’s past year of work, we have begun to see how we may have fallen into some of these habits ourselves.
How do you think your work on wellbeing has impacted your students?
I think that being intentional about wellbeing creates space for children to feel relaxed enough to be themselves. When they are relaxed, they can show those qualities such as empathy. When they feel relaxed and expressing themselves, they become more confident. And they laugh more.
This question gets into good discussions around “What is Learning?” and “What is engagement?”. Engagement is supposed to be fun! When students are relaxed, they naturally enjoy the learning process. This inevitably improves learning outcomes.
As a counsellor, I see youth struggling every day. Many kids are tuned out, disconnected, tired, and live with constant low-grade stress. Adding to that, our teachers are also exhausted, over-worked and often under-supported and under-valued. However, from experience, I know that when our teachers are connected, mindful, emotionally intelligent and happy, a ripple effect of positive learning can occur for our students. I believe that when we put as much focus on wellness, social-emotional learning and connection as we do on academics, our students, teachers and staff will all flourish within the school system.
Earlier this year we shared a list of ‘everyday practices’ that are currently being prototyped. The concept of an everyday practice came from two places: the research around ‘kernels of practice’, as shared by Dennis Embry and colleagues, and a survey. In the spring of 2015, WellAhead asked over 1,400 people two questions: “What does your school do to support students’ social and emotional wellbeing” and “what do YOU do to support students’ social and emotional wellbeing” Everyday practices are one way to frame and understand the responses to that second question: the many things that we do day to day to support our children and youth.
If you’ve been following the development of the WellAhead initiative, you’ve probably asked yourself the very reasonable question, “what will this actually look like?” We, too, have struggled at times to bring this concept – using a social innovation lab approach to integrating wellbeing into schools – to fruition. Thanks to a stellar team, some great advice from experts across the country, and incredible passion and interest on the ground, it has finally happened.