Promoting wellness among Teacher Candidates transitioning into workplace
Wednesday, November 7, 2018
“Put your own oxygen mask on first, so you can be of help to those around you. We can’t be there for our students unless we are well ourselves” says Dr. Susan Rodger, co-planner of the Teacher Wellness Conference hosted for Year Two Teacher Candidates at the Faculty of Education on Tuesday, November 6, 2018.
The half-day conference was geared towards promoting wellness among teachers as they transition into the workplace starting in the New Year. With wellness in mind, the conference was a combination of large-group and breakout mini-series interactive lectures.
Dr. Traci Scheepstra, PhD Candidate, Faculty of Education instructor, and certified Life and Executive Coach Practitioner kicked off the day with a 10-minute mindfulness meditation exercise. Teacher Candidate participants took the opportunity to shut their eyes, breathe deeply, and relieve any tensions in the body, all while following Dr. Scheepstra’s careful instructions to remain in a meditated state.
Once the group was relaxed and focused, Dr. Susan Rodger gave an overview of what was to come for the afternoon. In addition, she concentrated on the value of personal wellness in the life of a teacher as she introduced the first two of eight ‘Teacher Tips’ for wellness.
Once Dr. Rodger wrapped up her introductions, participants had the opportunity to register and attend two breakout sessions over the course of two different time slots. The sessions included a variety of wellness strategies, including: mindfulness and meditation, nutrition and wellness, creativity and wellness, work-life balance, recognizing gratitude, spirituality and faith, and physical wellness.
Following the breakout sessions, the large group reconvened in the auditorium to build on the breakout session learnings and how to move forward with practicing wellness.
Dr. Rodger’s ‘Teacher Tips’ showed the Teacher Candidates that practicing wellness can be just as much the small things as the large:
- Pay attention to yourself – Truly try to understand thoughts, feelings, and sensations and how it affects the work you are doing day-to-day.
- Be part of something good – Spend time with colleagues who bring strength, positivity, and good ideas into conversations. Focus more on the positive and start to set aside the negative.
- Take a deep breath, literally – Give yourself a break and the opportunity to stop, think, and take a breath.
- Put your oxygen mask on first – Just as Susan Rodger described above.
- Make for a meaningful drive/walk/ride home – Let go of the negativity that happened during the day. Set a positive tone as you transition home – like changing clothes, having a shower, or turning the music up loud.
- Practice setting positive intentions – Although goals and intentions are different, setting both can help to keep you on the course of being well. Check in throughout the day and make adjustments along the way.
- Know that wellness is complex, there are many factors within wellness – Think about the people you know that are well and try something they do. Make plans, make them known and make them a priority. Do more of what works and less of what doesn’t. Notice what has changed and what hasn’t. Take the time to reflect on each of these strategies!
- Use TeachResiliency.ca – A free-of-charge online resource full of searchable and relevant evidence-based resources and strategies to support mental health at school/work, connect with people in the know, and gain practical tools to support your own journey in the classroom.