Picture by C-B studio

The Art of Cursive Writing: A Valuable Journey.

In the bustling world of elementary education, where the focus often lies on specific subjects and foundational skills, including cursive writing might seem like a quaint notion. However, delving into the art of beautiful writing from an early age brings forth many benefits.

Alright, picture this: little ones in elementary school getting into the groove of cursive writing. You might think, “Wait, isn’t that more for grown-ups?” Introducing cursive writing to the kiddos early on is like unlocking a treasure trove of skills that go way beyond just pretty handwriting.

Primarily, cursive writing serves as a nuanced exercise in fine motor skill development. The meticulous movements required to craft elegant strokes with a pen or brush contribute significantly to the refinement of hand-eye coordination. As students navigate the intricacies of cursive writing lettering, they concurrently enhance their motor control, laying the groundwork for improved dexterity in various academic and extracurricular activities.

Moreover, cursive writing imparts invaluable lessons in patience and focus. The deliberate and measured approach demanded by the art form instills a sense of meticulousness in young learners. In an era characterized by constant stimuli and distractions, instilling the ability to concentrate on a singular task becomes a transferable skill that can positively impact a student’s overall academic experience.

But it’s not all serious business. Cursive writing is a way for kids to show off their personality. Scribbling becomes an art form, a canvas for expressing feelings and ideas. That creative outlet isn’t just about making pretty letters; it’s about feeling proud of what they create and boosting their confidence.

Within the language arts domain, cursive writing uniquely combines visual and verbal communication. As students engage with this art form, they naturally develop an enhanced appreciation for the aesthetic aspects of language. This heightened sensitivity to the visual nuances of letters and words can elevate their understanding and enthusiasm for written expression, transforming language arts into a more captivating and enjoyable subject.

The advantages of learning cursive writing extend beyond the academic sphere, reaching into the realm of mindfulness and well-being. This art form’s deliberate, meditative nature gives students a serene space to explore creativity. In navigating the rhythmic flow of ink on paper, students can cultivate mindfulness, offering a valuable respite from the frenetic pace of contemporary life.

The integration of cursive writing into elementary education transcends the mere enhancement of penmanship. It represents an investment in the holistic development of students, fostering skills that span from refined motor control and patience to enhanced creativity and an enriched appreciation for language arts. The early introduction of cursive writing catalyzes comprehensive student growth, leaving an enduring impact on their academic journey.

picture of trees in winter covered in snow

Embracing the Chill: The Crucial Role of Winter Outdoor Learning for Kids

Picture by Iyanuoluwa Akinrinola

The resource, “How Does Learning Happen? Ontario’s Pedagogy for the Early Years,” states that Educators should pay heed to the environment to ensure that their beliefs and values about children and learning are represented in the space. It goes on to say that these benefits occur especially within children’s connections to and interactions with the natural world because the growing body of research suggests that connecting to the natural world contributes to children’s well-being in many ways.

The idea of taking education outdoors might seem counterintuitive as winter blankets the world in a glistening layer of snow. However, the benefits of outdoor learning in winter for kids are as vast as the snowy landscapes. Beyond the cozy confines of the classroom, the winter wonderland serves as a rich and dynamic setting for valuable educational experiences.

Winter transforms the outdoors into an expansive classroom, providing a unique and captivating environment for learning. The crisp air, frost-kissed trees, and snow-covered landscapes offer a sensory-rich experience that engages children on a different level. It’s a living, breathing textbook where lessons extend far beyond the pages of a conventional workbook.

In the winter, the great outdoors becomes a playground for physical activity. Engaging in winter sports, building snowmen, or simply stomping through the snow provides an excellent way for kids to stay active and healthy. The invigorating cold air can also boost their immune systems and contribute to overall well-being. Winter also offers a prime opportunity for hands-on scientific exploration. Kids can observe the unique properties of snow and ice, explore changes in the natural environment, and learn about the fascinating adaptations of plants and animals to the cold season. Outdoor winter activities can serve as a gateway to lessons in the sciences: chemistry, physics, biology, and environmental science.

Experiencing and adapting to winter conditions fosters resilience in children. From dressing appropriately for the weather to problem-solving in snow-related challenges, outdoor winter learning instills a sense of adaptability and perseverance. These life skills extend beyond the classroom, preparing kids to face challenges confidently. Similarly, winter’s white canvas sparks creativity in young minds. Whether crafting intricate snow sculptures, composing winter-themed poems, or capturing the season’s beauty through art, outdoor winter learning encourages imaginative expression. The open-air setting inspires fresh perspectives and allows children to connect with their creative instincts.

Outdoor winter activities provide a social arena for kids to collaborate, communicate, and develop interpersonal skills. Building snow forts, organizing winter games, or engaging in collaborative projects foster teamwork and camaraderie. The shared experience of conquering winter challenges creates lasting bonds among peers. Connecting children with nature in winter lays the groundwork for environmental stewardship. Understanding the seasonal cycles, appreciating the delicate balance of ecosystems, and witnessing the impact of human activities on the environment instill a sense of responsibility towards nature.

The winter landscape is not a barrier to learning; it is an expansive canvas waiting to be explored. Outdoor learning in winter for kids is a holistic approach that nurtures physical health, scientific curiosity, resilience, creativity, social skills, and environmental awareness. As educators, let’s embrace the chill and open the doors to a world of educational opportunities extending far beyond the confines of indoor classrooms. Winter is not just a season; it’s a classroom waiting to be discovered.

Avoiding Burnout: A Vital Pursuit for Educators

Burnout is a pervasive problem affecting educators worldwide, leading to decreased job satisfaction, compromised well-being, and diminished classroom effectiveness. Addressing this issue is paramount to maintaining a high-quality education system. The demands of teaching can be overwhelming, leading to physical, emotional, and psychological exhaustion. To maintain a high standard of education and foster a healthy learning environment, educators need to prioritize their well-being and avoid burnout.

The first step in avoiding burnout is recognizing its signs and symptoms. Burnout is characterized by emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and reduced personal accomplishment. Educators may feel emotionally drained, detached from their students, and experiencing a diminished sense of personal competence. Identifying these signs early on can help educators take proactive steps to prevent burnout. Understanding the root causes of burnout is essential for developing effective prevention strategies.

Photo by Nataliya Vaitkevich

 

One of the primary causes of burnout is an imbalance between work and personal life. Educators often dedicate long hours to lesson planning, grading, and extracurricular activities, leaving little time for themselves and their families. Educators must be intentional about self-care and establish clear boundaries between work and personal life to address this issue. Setting aside time for relaxation, hobbies, and spending quality time with loved ones can help alleviate the stress associated with teaching.

Educators should not hesitate to seek professional support when experiencing burnout symptoms. This may involve consulting with a counsellor or therapist specializing in educator well-being, and sharing challenges and concerns with a trusted mentor and/or professional can provide educators with valuable insights, coping strategies, and emotional support to navigate the demands of their profession effectively.

Mindfulness and stress reduction techniques can be valuable tools for preventing burnout. Practices such as meditation, deep breathing exercises, movement activities, nature explorations or yoga can help educators manage stress and stay grounded in the present moment. Integrating these techniques into daily routines can improve emotional resilience and well-being.

Creating/immersing in a supportive community within the school environment can also contribute to educator well-being. Participating in professional development opportunities, such as workshops, conferences, and ETFO local union events (socials) and peer support groups, can provide a network of like-minded individuals who understand the profession’s challenges.

Burnout is a significant concern in education, as it affects educators’ lives and the quality of education provided to students. Prioritizing your well-being and implementing strategies that enable work-life balance, will ensure that you have a fulfilling and sustainable career as an educator while providing the best possible learning experience for your students. Ultimately, the prevention of burnout is not only essential for us as individual educators but also for the betterment of the entire education system.

ETFO members who feel that they are experiencing mental health challenges should discuss their concerns with their family doctor. Mental health support may be available to ETFO members through Employee Assistance Programs (EAP), accessed via their district school board.
Additional support may be found through Starling Minds, which offers a variety of digital programs free of charge for ETFO members. Read this PDF about Starling Minds and learn how to register.

Summer

Photo by Mariam Antadze

 

In the summer’s warm embrace, we find reprieve,
Teachers, once tireless souls, now stand at ease,
Amidst the sun-kissed days and skies of blue,
A tranquil haven for hearts and minds anew.

A well-deserved respite from the classroom’s heave.
Beneath the warm sun’s glow, they shed their weight,
And embark on journeys to rejuvenate
Seeking inspiration as time flies.

In gardens, teachers tend to bloom with care,
Nurturing life, compassion, they will share.
As flowers bloom, so do their hearts renew,
With gratitude for all the children’s crew.

Amongst the pages of a favourite book,
They lose themselves in tales that kindly hook.
Imagination soars on wings unfurled,
As wisdom from each word begins to swirl.

For even in repose, they still impart,
The wisdom sown within each student’s heart,
For teachers’ nurturing never truly ends,
Their love of learning, like a river, wends.

As the sun sets low, painting skies aglow,
Teachers breathe in summer’s tranquil flow.
For in these moments, they find the grace,
To prepare their hearts for the next school’s embrace.

So, let us savour this summer’s delight,
Relaxing, unwinding, and taking flight.
For when autumn arrives, we’ll shine anew,
Our souls invigorated, ready to inspire once again.

June Reflection

I try to be an educator who continually reflects on my practice and experiences within education. As June signifies the end of the school year, I often consider it the perfect time to reflect not only on the year but also on my overall career in education. In this post, I’m sharing some of my recent reflections and maybe a few next steps as we roll into summer. 

Change Is Constant

Over the course of my career, I’ve somehow managed to have never been surplused.  That is until this year! I wasn’t expecting it and when it came, I was really unsure of what my next move would be. Having just arrived at my current school this year, I was looking forward to starting a STEM program that could be built upon for years to come. I guess that just wasn’t in the cards for me at this particular school. One thing that I’ve learned in education is that change is constant and flexibility is a must. Sometimes what we have in mind, isn’t possible. With this in mind, I got excited about what could be next, applied for jobs and I’m excited to be starting anew in September. 

Summer Is a Time to Breathe

In the summer, I find that I have more time to get out in nature and that I make the time to read. Often with more time in my schedule, I find that it gives me the opportunity to be more intentional about what I decide to do each day. This summer I have two books that I plan on reading and implementing and I’m excited. I’ve gone with two because it’s manageable and I really hope to dig deep into these reads. The first book is Black People Breathe by Zee Clarke. Years ago I found that I was heavily into mindfulness and breath work but over time, I somehow moved past this practice and got back into the hustle and bustle of life. I’m ready to get back into it. I picked this book because it is written by a Black woman. Not only does this book provide guidance on vital tools from an expert in mindfulness, meditation, and breathwork, but woven throughout are deeply personal stories highlighting the many systemic challenges that people of colour face. I’ve got a lot of experiences that have caused trauma to unpack and to work through and I am excited to begin my mindfulness journey again. 

Rest Is Essential

At the beginning of my career, I somehow got the wild idea that I should be filling my summer with teaching or learning – basically work. I didn’t get that the time off during the summer was to rest and recharge. I found myself going, going, going until I was close to being burnt out. Years ago, I took a summer off completely – no work at all – and it changed the way that I thought about having the summer off. I realized the importance of taking time for myself. I learned about slowing down and being in the moment. I learned about enjoying moments rather than rushing to move on to the next thing that is on my to-do list. I find that I’m rushing again and not savouring or enjoying experiences to the fullest so it’s time to rest. This summer, I will be working on a couple of projects but in between I have carved out time for rest. As a practice, I will be using the Nap Ministry’s Rest Deck for some guidance on restful practice. I’ve also been gifted her book, Rest is Resistance and will be using that as a guide for learning to rest with more intention.

The year is over and I hope that you get a chance to congratulate yourself on what you accomplished. Wishing you a wonderful summer filled with rest, breath, and opportunities to consider what changes you might make this coming year.  Enjoy!

snacks

Via DALL-E – create a painting of Chips, Goldfish crackers, Cheetohs, Nachos, Pretzels, Carrots and other snack foods in a Rubenesque style – prompts by author

Crunchy food. I need crunchy food! Chips, goldfish crackers, veggie straws, or even, heaven forbid, real vegetables to stave off my brain triggered hunger now arriving via its ally my stomach.

Our stomachs tell us a lot of things, they are much like having a house weather forecaster by giving off warnings of inclement times ahead. Whether it’s stress, anxiety, nerves, or need for nourishment, stomachs are in the middle of a lot of action(s).

Mine is telling me that some crunchy snacks would be good right about now. So while I type and stare at my own options (granola bars, seaweed, crackers + hummus, pretzels, et al.), the idea to write about snacking and teaching comes to mind. Before I cave into my brain’s demands I thought it would be a good idea to consider why noisy food is a strange necessity during this and other similar moments of my day. 

Furthermore, in the interest of transparency, I will neither be making excuses for my snacking habits nor endorsing them. However, I will mention that there are times during the day which correlate to my need for a snack when the emotional and cognitive demands are increased. I am sure that this is a common occurrence amidst our ranks. 

Crunch crunch crunch when feeling the crunch

Why does eating crunchy food feel so satisfying? Is there a primordial connection to our primitive brains somehow? I can state without hesitation that there is something soothing in the noise. If not soothing then how about distracting? Sometimes our brains need a break from what they are processing. Eagelman repurposed the term “strategic surrender” in his book The Runaway Species.

I love how this phrase sounds, and share it often. Moreover, I share it in my classroom as a strategy for my students. Perhaps my breaks for crunchy foods are providing me with a diversionary pause that allows my brain to continue solving a problem while being distracted by the crunching going on just below it. All things considered, I had not thought about snacks as a restful respite from the compounding moments of the teaching day, but I know if they are good for me, then they are good for others. This includes students and teachers. 

To that last point, I always have a box of granola bars (peanut free – Costco brand) to support the growing minds and bodies in the room. Whenever an OT joins our classroom for the day, I am sure to leave one for them too. I know that it cannot be easy to step into unknown spaces on a daily basis without the need for some strategic surrender from time to time. A snack and a note of gratitude may be a simple act, but can be very meaningful too. 

Crunching gone wrong

I add this thought for consideration only because it is still important to make healthy choices when it comes to what we consume. There are only so many Cheetos binge windows left in my life and I want to savour them over the holidays. So that means carrots, radishes, and other less carby things that can still shake up my brain with some decibels with each bite. Another thing to consider might be how often I am eating my feelings and stress rather than identifying and addressing their root causes. If I am eating to cope with my stresses then I need to get some help. If I am eating to keep my brain and body fueled then I will continue to crunch on. 

Thirst

There might be another factor at play here, and I have often turned to my coffee cup and water bottle to deal with it. Sometimes we forget to drink enough throughout the day. It’s kind of hard when our bladders need to be set to an entirely different schedule than our bodies deem naturally necessary. Unlike our students, we just can’t ask for permission to take the long way around the building to get some water and use the washroom. As a result, many teachers are under-hydrating. This can lead to decreased energy levels and can impair cognitive optimization and may also lead to long term health issues.

As we work to finish off our final month of the year in a good way, it is crucial to keep both body and mind in healthy states with a little crunch and a big sip.

Pause as Motion

Rest
Picture by Anna Shvets

 

Have you ever thought of that? Pause as motion. Take a break, a breath, a moment to gather momentum and run well-oiled instead of fumes.

Rest is an essential practice for teachers for several reasons:

  1. Self-care: Teaching is a demanding profession requiring much mental, emotional, and physical energy. Rest is crucial for educators to take care of their well-being. Like any other professional, educators must prioritize their health and well-being to be effective. Rest allows educators to recharge, rejuvenate, and replenish their energy levels, which can help prevent burnout and promote overall well-being.
  2. Mental and emotional well-being: Teaching can be emotionally challenging, as educators often deal with various stressors such as managing classrooms, navigating student behaviour, meeting deadlines, and dealing with parent concerns. Rest allows educators to relax and de-stress, which can help them manage their mental and emotional well-being. It will enable educators to take a step back, reflect, and process their thoughts and emotions, which can improve their ability to handle challenges and make sound decisions.
  3. Cognitive functioning: Rest is essential for cognitive functioning, including memory consolidation, problem-solving, and creativity. Educators must be mentally sharp and alert to effectively plan and deliver lessons, assess student performance, and adapt their instruction to meet diverse student needs. Sufficient rest can enhance cognitive functioning, including attention, concentration, and critical thinking skills, essential for effective teaching.
  4. Work-life balance: Rest is crucial for maintaining a healthy work-life balance. Teaching can be a demanding profession requiring long work hours, including lesson planning, grading, and voluntary extracurricular activities. Educators may become overwhelmed with work-related responsibilities without adequate rest, negatively impacting their personal life, relationships, and overall well-being. Rest allows educators to establish boundaries between their personal and professional lives and promotes a healthy work-life balance, which can lead to increased job satisfaction and overall life satisfaction.
  5. Role modelling for students: Rest also serves as a positive role model. Educators are responsible for imparting academic knowledge and modelling healthy behaviours and habits. By practicing rest, we can show students the importance of self-care, well-being, and overall balance, which can positively influence their behaviours and attitudes toward their health and well-being.

Take a moment. Give it some thought. Pause as motion. Educators must maintain physical, mental, and emotional well-being, enhance cognitive functioning, establish a healthy work-life balance, and model positive student behaviours. Prioritizing rest can lead to more effective and fulfilling teaching and learning practices.

love(s)

Image generated by DALL-E 2 with prompts from author
Image generated by DALL-E 2 with prompts from author

love…”what is it good for?”
love…”exciting and new.”
love…means nothing to a tennis player

L O V E is an often overused word

Keep reading if you used the word ‘love’ somewhere in a conversation today.
Here are some examples: “I love this song.” “Do you love this sweater?” “Wow, do I love this book.” “Bye mom. I love you.” I could go on because the very air around us abounds in love throughout the day at school, but so often it seems that we miss the opportunities to them all in, let alone enjoy them.

Where are you going here Gourley?

Last week the first talk from TED 2023 was shared by Angus Hervey (click link) and it serves as the inspiration for this post.* As you know I can dig into some uncomfortable spaces here and felt the need to spread a little sunshine after hearing the ideas worth spreading from this year’s TED.

It’s April, late April to be precise. Spring is somewhere in the air. I know because I felt it at the beginning of the month with a week of unseasonally warm days. I loved how some were complaining that it was too hot. I also loved not having to scrape frost off of my windshield or see remnants of blizzards past on my lawn as well. I even put away my super warm toque until next year. I loved seeing the first flowers poking through the brown matted grass. I love how nature keeps its own time. With a spring in my steps I have found it really easy to get up before the alarm clock as light and warmth pour into my room to start the day.

I love knowing that the we will keep getting closer to the sun for a couple more months. I love feeling the change of seasons and the decisions being made to remove layers of sweaters, winter boots, hats and gloves. I love the fresh and hearing the birds sharing their songs with me each morning. I love how having windows open allows for nature to visit the classroom. I love how learning spaces can be expanded exponentially when more time outdoors is included. Math, Phys Ed, Social Studies, Science, and every other subject just got a lot more fresh.

I love how students get so excited to be taking the learning outdoors. I love how much planning goes into preparing for these memorable moments and the amount of faith it takes to pull them off with so many variables at throughout the day. I love how students can still be goofy at heart – staff too for that matter.

I love how this year has flown past without a single moment of hybrid teaching. I love how OT positions have been filled more frequently. I love how well schools run when there are no outside forces undermining and gaslighting the incredible work done each day on behalf of students, their families, and the community. I love that students know we are working hard for them.

I love being an educator.

* The actual talk has not been posted however the article above captures the goodness contained therein.

Mental Health Activities

January 25th was an important day to talk about mental health as each year, “Bell Let’s Talk Day” reminds us all that conversations are such an important part of our day as educators. As educators, it is our duty to ensure the mental well-being of each of our students is thought about daily. Some students keep their feelings inside and some claim to be happy 24/7. How do we dive deep into these important conversations and make sure that we are providing opportunities for our students to speak out? Here are some ways to get talking about mental health without making it the central focus. Starting small to get kids talking.

Math Activity

My students were looking at topics to create an infographic about and as a class, decided the most important infographic that should be on display in every intermediate class was one about mental health. So students looked for statistics related to youth mental health in Canada. They found fractions, percentages and various facts that told a story about the mental health of youth in Canada. They shared these infographics with their peers and discussed many important facts. Then, yesterday I pulled up the website about “Bell Let’s Talk Day” and students found many statistics on this page that they had used in their own infographics. We looked at the resources available and then talked about resources to help within our own school (Positive space groups, social worker, clubs, talking to teachers, etc.)

Drama Activity

I wanted to try an activity with my grade two and three students yesterday that connected to their mental health and it went very well. I encourage you to try it out with any grade in a future drama class or just as a class activity. Here is how the activity worked:

A student would be selected to be the actor and that actor would have some sort of problem that they were needing help with. Some examples are:

  • Getting a bad mark on a test
  • Getting into a fight with their best friend
  • Their best friend was moving
  • They felt sad but did not know why
  • Their goldfish passed away

It was actually challenging to think of situations that would not be triggering for students. I made sure that the actor was okay with the situation and then they proceeded to act out their feelings towards the situation. Then, they would pick three friends from the audience who would one at a time come up and try to make them feel better. It was incredible to hear all of the solutions that their friends had. Students who had not participated in drama class in the past put up their hand for the first time. They were excited to come up and comfort their friend. After the lesson, I asked the students if they could use these strategies in real life and they all agreed that they could. I know this activity comes with a risk of students having to be vulnerable but I think it was useful. I even heard a student say, “I wish I had gotten that advice a month ago!” I loved this activity and hope to try it with my intermediate students in the future.

Language Activity

As report card season is in the midst, I decided to try a different reflection activity this term. I asked students to write one word or sentence  on a cue card that best described their feelings towards report cards. This was an anonymous activity as when I collected the cards, I did not ask them to write their names on them. I then handed out a random card to each student. I asked them to think about why the student had written down that word/sentence. What could have been going through their head? Can you relate to what they wrote? Why or why not? I often hear grumblings about report cards around this time of year so I thought this would be a good chance for students to get it all out. An optional part of this activity could be having students share their word at the end if they felt comfortable doing so.

Art Activity

Last month, we were lucky enough to have someone from the Art Gallery of Hamilton come in to our classrooms. We were involved in a four week program working with watercolours with a focus on mental health. Students completed watercolour techniques in a very relaxing environment, using tape, string and tissues to create different looks. This was my favourite part of the day as every student felt connected to their work and rarely left to access a different space. Students were proud of their work and loved the simplicity of this. The arts have a way of making everyone at peace and I look forward to incorporating more periods to just create without a given set of rules.

These activities are just a few I have tried over the last month or so and I am always looking for new ways to get my students feeling comfortable around their peers and with themselves. I would love to hear about more if you have some that have worked in your own classrooms. I hope to include some photos once I am back in the classroom next week so stay tuned.

A cloudy sky reflected in a smooth lake in fall.

The Fall Months

The fall reminds us all of many things. The beauty of nature as leaves change from greens and browns to vibrant reds, yellows, and oranges. The wonder of the fall seasons that we get to partake in every year. The dominance of ‘Pumpkin Spice Lattes’ and all things pumpkin to consume. The excitement of new school sessions that are marked by the “ber” months. The fall months (September to November/December) bring richness, newness, and a sense of adventure. However, for some, there is a ‘sadness’ that fall brings with it.

According to the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH), Seasonal Affective Disorder (S.A.D) affects 35 percent of Canadians. “Another 10 to 15 percent have a mild form of seasonal depression, while about two to five percent of Canadians will have a severe, clinical form of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). It often starts with fatigue, then symptoms of sadness, lethargy, apathy and depression, said Dr. Robert Levitan, the head of depression research at CAMH” (Kwong, 2015).

The Canadian Psychological Association references “Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), or Depression with Seasonal Pattern, as a condition that comes and goes based on seasonal changes, appearing in the fall and going away in the spring/summer. If you have SAD, you may find yourself feeling many symptoms of depression, especially irritability, and you may be more sensitive in interpersonal relationships. People often report unusually low energy levels, causing them to feel tired, heavy, or lethargic” (Canadian Psychological Association, 2020).

This disorder may often be regarded as the ‘winter blues’ which can affect many educators who are juggling back-to-school, new schedules, classes, and sometimes responsibilities with little or limited energy to do so (let’s not yet add any home or community responsibilities teachers may have as well). How can one cope when everything just seems so S.A.D? First, it is important to note that you are not alone.

Mental health & wellness resources such as those found on the Ontario Teacher’s Federation website (titled ‘Useful Links for Wellbeing’), as well as resources and services offered by your board are ways in which educators can combat S.A.D. Some boards offer counselling, mental health professional, and community services at low or no cost to educators. These services enable educators to work with a mental health professional to develop strategies, tools, and/or action plans to mitigate/navigate Seasonal Affective Disorder. Similarly, there may be options to connect with paramedical professionals.

Part of the Building Better Schools Plan by ETFO Provincial recognizes that “As the heartbeat of public education, teachers and other education professionals play a critical role in helping to shape the system and develop our students to be the very best they can be. Ontario’s future depends on all of us to protect and build better schools” (ETFO, 2022). There is a richness, a newness, and a sense of adventure that the fall months bring. Part of ensuring Ontario’s future is using available resources and services to protect and capacitate educators’ mental well-being.

Resources to consider

 

References:

  • Canadian Psychological Association. (2020). “Psychology Works” Fact Sheet: Seasonal Affective Disorder (Depression with Seasonal Pattern). Canadian Psychological Association. Available at https://cpa.ca/psychology-works-fact-sheet-seasonal-affective-disorder-depression-with-seasonal-pattern/
  • Centre for Addiction and Mental Health. (2022). Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). Mental Illness & Addiction Index. Available at: https://www.camh.ca/en/health-info/mental-illness-and-addiction-index/seasonal-affective-disorder
  • ETFO. (2022). Building Better Schools: A plan for improving elementary education. Elementary Teachers Federation of Ontario. Available at: https://www.buildingbetterschools.ca/the_plan
  • Kwong, M. (2015). Sad Science: Why winter brings us down, but won’t for long. CBC News. CBC/Radio Canada. Available at: https://www.cbc.ca/news/health/sad-science-why-winter-brings-us-down-but-won-t-for-long-1.2981920#:~:text=About%20two%20to%20five%20per,effects%20of%20our%20chilly%20moods%3F

Photo by: Iyanuoluwa Akinrinola