Category Archives: Mental Health

Trauma in the Classroom (Part 2)

Guest Contributors: Allyson Eamer, Amea Wilbur, Katie Crossman, and Jennifer Allore

This blog is the second in a two-part series on trauma in the classroom. Part 1 discusses how teachers can better facilitate learning and provide support for students who have experienced trauma, such as refugees.  This segment focuses on vicarious trauma?

Vicarious trauma is a form of second-hand trauma. It is experienced by people in helping professions when they are deeply affected by their exposure to others’ trauma. The term was coined in 1995 by Laurie Pearlman and Karen Saakvitne, and originally was used to describe symptoms that clinicians experienced from working with clients with trauma experiences. Vicarious trauma has since been recognized in other fields. It can occur in various ways, such as listening to traumatic stories or viewing disturbing images. 

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Trauma in the Classroom (Part 1)

Guest Contributors: Allyson Eamer, Amea Wilbur, Katie Crossman, Jennifer Allore

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If you are a LINC or ESL instructor, there is a good chance that you have taught learners who have experienced trauma. Syrian, Afghan and now Ukrainian refugees, for example, have been arriving in Canada in large numbers and are increasingly part of our classrooms. Although you are not a mental health specialist, you are often the first point of contact for many students. They likely see you more often and for longer blocks of time than they see their settlement workers or other professionals in their lives. Your students undoubtedly view you as quintessentially Canadian and very much a part of “the system” that directly impacts their lives and futures in Canada. Because you work hard to be a caring instructor and to build trust in the classroom, you are likely to witness the effects of trauma on student learning, and/or to have trauma disclosed to you by a student. You are therefore an important, if unwitting (and likely unprepared, we will argue), key player in responding to trauma.

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SOS: Tackling Mid-Career Malaise

Image source: www.bigstockphoto.com 

People sometimes joke about having a midlife crisis yet the truth is, research shows midlife (i.e., approximately in your 40s) is when people really do experience the lowest satisfaction in their personal and professional lives. This is a stage of life during which many have the highest financial burdens and the most at-home demands.

Canadian TESL professionals also experience malaise mid-career. In a study on the reflections of three mid-career ESL teachers in Canada, one participant noted she had “gone a little stale.” Another felt she had “plateaued professionally.” Experts say the signs that you are experiencing malaise can include feeling lethargic, disinterested, and unmotivated. You may be asking yourself questions like Is this truly what I’m meant to be doing with my life?

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Growing Your Career During the Winter Months

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Guest Contributor: Catherine Crawford

Winter is a dormant season in Canada where the cold weather brings nature into hibernation. As such, our careers can also tend to fall into a period of stagnation during this time of year. It’s cold, dark and not many people are feeling energized compared to other times of the year. So, if you are trying to grow your career, how do you ensure it doesn’t suffer during these winter blues? Here are 4 career tips to implement this winter season:  

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Summer Plans: Transitioning from work to a vacation mindset

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With summer school wrapping up, I am having a difficult time transitioning from a work to a vacation mindset. Some people might not have a problem with this, but I do.

When the semester is finished, it is hard for me to stop thinking about my work and students. I am driven to come up with new teaching strategies, check my emails, and worry about my students’ continued learning. Continue reading

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How are you taking care of yourself during COVID-19?

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It’s never been more important to focus on taking care of yourself. Maybe like me you are teaching or working from home. Hours of screen time and sitting too long can have negative health impacts. Here are the eight top self-care tips that I have tried and now use every day to reduce stress and boost mental health. Please test them yourself and let me know what you think. 

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Brain Breaks Essential when Teaching Online

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In general, teachers have an unwavering commitment to their profession and an unparalleled work ethic; when COVID-19 hit, they applied this to online learning. However, the hours spent learning how to teach in this new environment have taken a toll on both their mental and physical health. Many teachers have had to strike a whole new work-life balance.

During an in-person lesson, it is natural to take a break, whether that be leaving the room briefly or stepping into more casual conversation between teachers and students. But what happens in the online classroom when we take a break? For most of us, continuing our work is the norm. How does this ultimately make us feel? Are we better off working through our breaks for the benefit of our students? Continue reading

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A Toast to Coaching

Metaphor of development, growth, transformation, change Coaching icon Logo transform
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Fellow TESL Community, whether you’ve benefited from working with a professional coach or not, join me in raising a proverbial glass in honour of coaches. 

In March 2020, like some, or even many of you, I found myself suddenly unemployed. The private language school I had taught at for the two years prior was unable to keep its doors open to welcome local and international English Language Learners due to the swift pandemic measures that came into effect that same month. My experience, sadly, was not unique.  

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#CDNELTCHAT: JOIN THE CHAT ON TUESDAY!

Image Source: #CdnELTChat Team

If you’re a Twitter user, join the next #CdnELTchat on Tuesday, March 30, when our topic will be: Teaching and Learning Vocabulary.  Below is a recap of the March 16 chat written by #CdnELTchat moderator Bonnie Nicholas.

A little over a year ago, on March 11, 2020, our lives were upended when the WHO declared COVID-19 a global pandemic. Most schools and learning institutions in Canada closed to in-person learning soon afterwards, and many of us found ourselves teaching online classes for the first time. As we left our workplaces, I suspect few of us thought that we would still be in the midst of the pandemic a year later.

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