Good Things Happen

My neighbours have made where I live a great neighbourhood to live in. They truly make this world a better place. Good things happen here and I am so grateful. Thanks for being so phenomenal.

Books to Help High School Students Navigate Life

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I asked a few of my educator friends about a book they would recommend and here is the list. I’ll start with my favourite by Viktor Frankl. The rest are in no particular order.

1. Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl

2. Tuesdays With Morrie

3. Wherever You Go There You Are

4. The Alchemist

5. Make A Dash

6. The Hate You Give

7. Fountainhead

8. The Upside of Unrequited

9. The Total Money Makeover

10. A Child Called It

11. Make Your Bed

12. Everything I know I learned In Kindergarden

13. City of Joy

14. Don’t Throw Sand in The Sandbox

15. 1984

16. Grapes of Wrath

17. To Kill A Mockingbird

18. Do What You Are

19. Netsmart

20. Financial Peace University

What book would you recommend?

People Not Programs Change Children

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We all know that relationships matter, but sometimes we still need reminders. We keep searching for the perfect programs to help kids. In my opinion , time would be better spent being the person who makes a difference in a child’s life and helping increase the quality and number of people who can make a positive impact.

There are so many children who need our help for a multitude of reasons. Find ways to support, nurture, interact, listen to, respect, give hope to, and connect kids with people and resources that can help them.

Be that adult who attends to the emotional health of the children as well as your own. Model your humanity and compassion daily. Provide a safe haven where you and those you work with enjoy going to school each day, no matter the stresses of the world. Be present each day to the best of your ability and forgive yourself and others if things don’t go as planned. It’s more than OK to not feel at your best each day considering the circumstances, just do the best you can for the kids and reach out for support if and when you need it.

It is especially challenging being an educator right now like no other time I have experienced in my past forty years in education. I know what you do matters and I want to thank you for all that you do. Click here for a little gift. I hope in some small way this brightens your day.

People not programs change children. You have an abnormally large heart , I am sure that’s why you became an educator in the first place, so continue to be one of those people who makes a difference in the life of a child while taking good care of yourself.

Burn Out … Educators Take Care of Yourself

Just for Today I will take the necessary actions so that I don’t burn out during Covid 19. I will take breaks and put things on pause when I need to.

I think we all need this reminder today, but especially educators and all who work in schools. This is a very draining time for many. It will mean making a conscious effort to not overdo things. I know easier said than done.

Prioritizing your well being is essential. I know too many don’t really understand the work educators do, or how hard you are working to make this all work right now, but you do. There has never been a more important time where you need to prioritize your well being .These ten ideas are a few things you can do to take care of yourself during this time.

  1. Show yourself a little love. Get up a little earlier than the rest of your family and take 15 minutes just for you. A half hour even better. Make yourself a cup of tea and do nothing , just be by yourself and enjoy the quiet time.
  2. Get to work a little earlier, buy yourself some flowers to put on your desk even if working virtually, and take time to smell the flowers throughout the day.
  3. Take a lunch break , unless you are dealing with an emergency. Get outside, take a short walk and recharge. Exercise as much as possible each day at a time that works for you.
  4. Take a break from social media and the news. I avoid the news as much as possible these days. Get someone to tell you the highlights if you really need the news.
  5. Collaborate as much as possible with a colleague to lighten your load.
  6. Ask yourself what you can take off your plate.
  7. Recognize you are still coping with the effects of Covid 19 yourself and YOU do not have to do everything. Use positive self talk throughout the day. Say, I can get through today only and make it the best day possible.
  8. Let go of the need to be all , do all.
  9. Celebrate the things you are doing to make this world a better place. You show up for kids daily so that their lives can be better, acknowledge that.
  10. Go home early. You don’t need to live at school. You have a life , live it . Spend time with those you love and focus on how you can have a great life during this pandemic without burning out.

Don’t burn yourself out, take care of yourself today and every day. It’s the best gift that you can give yourself and your students.

If you have a tip for educators to help during this time please share in the comments.

Focus On The Good

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It’s so easy during this time to focus on all the bad, however I choose not to. I skip by all the negative news. Oh yes, I do peek at it every now and then, but I don’t stay focussed on it.

If we look for the good we are bound to find it. I love when I hear good news of a wedding or a new baby or that someone’s operation turned out better than they thought. Often times I focus on the small things that I am grateful for. I can walk, see, hear, love, develop friendships, read, dance, sing, and breathe without much effort. There are so many things I can do that others are not able to and I do not take that for granted.

I can focus on the good in every young person I encounter. They have so much potential so much good left to be discovered.

Don’t get me wrong I am no pollyanna, I do sometimes get stuck on the negative, but I never live there long as I know how unhelpful it is. So just for today I chose to focus on the good.

Art is Therapeutic

Art washes from the soul the dust of everyday life

Pablo Picasso

I love painting. In the last while I have grown to love working with inks and alcohol. I love the vibrancy of the colours and the way I feel when I splash away and see what happens.

What joy it brings me to be in the state of flow on a regular basis. I wish that for you too. We could all use a little therapeutic bath right now. Try doing a little art and see what happens.

A Little Appreciation

There are a lot of people at work in schools right now doing some pretty amazing things. They are tired, overworked, feeling a multitude of emotions and often underappreciated for what they do. If you are a principal, supervisor, superintendent or someone who has a team working with you, take time to appreciate them. My challenge to you is to carve out 5 minutes to ask them how they are and tell them how much you appreciate them and what they are doing during this time. It matters. A little appreciation goes a long way.

It’s Never Too Late

As I enter this new chapter in my life I am making an extra effort to take care of myself physically. I have hired a personal trainer hoping to kickstart a stronger me. I have always been physically active having played sports like hockey, basketball, volleyball, baseball, ringette and more most of my life. I played lacrosse up to the age of 60. I still play pickleball which is my new love, but I have never done much in the area of weight training. As I age I know I need to ensure my body and mind are strong.

I am constantly looking at ways to improve my life and next month I begin focusing on this new area of my story, hoping a personal trainer will kickstart me off in a positive way.

I do many things that help me including my involvement in Second Chants an adult show choir.

I paint on a regular basis.

I volunteer with Calgary and Area Child Advocacy Centre, Online with School Counsellors and #scchat, Be My Eyes ready to help those with visual impairments.

I walk almost every day.

Keeping active, volunteering and working with adolescents all keep me positive and healthy. It is never too late to start something new, so keep moving forward as we all journey through this pandemic in the best way possible.

Empathy Chats

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School Counsellors -> Students -> Families ->Staff

We all need a little empathy at this moment in time. School Counsellors are a key player in providing these chats with students , families and the staff in their schools. Harvard offers some great tips on how to build empathy in your schools

Administrators->School Counsellors

I had a very wise administrator who once said to me that my job was to look after the students his job was to look after me. We all need support at this time. It is a give and take. All of us need a supportive person in our corner.

Let’s be intentional in supporting one another.

We can all :

Be positive in our interactions

Help others feel understood

Make people feel heard. You can use these creative approaches.

Teach empathy lessons

Utilize some empathy exercises with students

Validate their feelings

Work towards solutions

Together we will make this a better year for all by demonstrating empathy.