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Birds of a Feather Connect Together

by Colleen Wright Alberta Healthy School Community Wellness Fund | November 3 2016

We’re just over a month into the school year and we can all feel it getting slightly hairier. Lesson plans need to be completed, deadlines are looming, you’re probably spending a lot of time focused on grading while also trying to ensure that every student remains engaged, connected and successful. In order to do this, it’s important to model and act in ways that promote positive behaviours and relationships among children and youth. Sounds easy, right?

Practice What We Preach

We all have the best intentions when the new school year begins but, truth be told, it’s really hard to hit all the nails on the head. Aristotle said “we are what we repeatedly do,” which serves as a reminder that success and habits are not built overnight. Creating habits is far easier when we make use of our current routines and link the chain from the classroom to the staff room. Improved connectedness in the classroom has been statistically proven to increase academic success in students. Making the behaviours that increase classroom connectedness a habit in the staff room can also have positive effects on the well-being of teachers. There are many strategies to engage the disengaged, create an inclusive learning environment and support student connectedness—see our School Connectedness Summary Report for more information.

Making the Link

  1. Make a mindful effort to learn each of your colleague’s names and one fact about them. By getting to know one another, staff become more open to collaborating about student learning and modelling positive behaviour and relationships. Our social environments affect our happiness, drive and well-being.
  2. Post a strength board in your staff room. Your colleagues are often a source of untapped resources just waiting to be put to use. By highlighting others’ strengths, you can work together to solve problems at school, share teaching and classroom management techniques and support each other on the road to building an inclusive, connected school community.
  3. Showcase and celebrate good work. When we are supported in recognizing our strengths and others recognize our strengths, we gain confidence to achieve our goals and challenge obstacles. When our efforts are recognized and celebrated by our peers, we develop a positive sense of self-worth and in turn, we develop a positive sense of belonging in the school community.

Tap the Wellness Tree

We are all unique individuals with diverse strengths and talents that we bring to our teaching. When we thrive as educators we feel that our efforts contribute to the greater good, have a sense of competence and enjoy positive relationships with our students and colleagues. When we make positive well-being and connectedness a conscious goal for ourselves, linking the chain to our students becomes even easier.

Colleen Wright

With a background in nutrition and human ecology (look it up—it’s a thing!), Colleen is a superhero of health promotion. And as a project facilitator with the Alberta Healthy School Community Wellness Fund, she’s perfectly positioned to put her super muscles to work supporting health promotion initiatives in Alberta’s school communities. But don’t treat Colleen differently because she’s a superhero. Even she’s not immune to the most terrifying thing on the planet—the ostrich.