Category Archives: Wellness

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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Summer Plans: Transitioning from work to a vacation mindset

Image source: bigstockphoto.com

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?

Source: bigstockphoto.com

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

Image taken from BigStock Photos

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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Put Your Reading Socks On!

A Perfect Time to Read

Image source: www.bigstockphoto.com

“Books are a uniquely portable magic,” as Stephen King wrote, so spend the rest of this pandemic with your reading socks on! It is a stressful time; reading a good book or an educational article can be extremely therapeutic! 

In this blog entry, I will briefly review some professional articles and Canadian books I think you might enjoy. I would love an exchange of ideas if you read or have already read some of my suggestions listed below.

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Looking at 2020 through Rose-Coloured Glasses

image source: John Allan

In spite of all of the negative effects of the COVID-19 crisis, do you think you could find some positive events that you experienced in 2020?   It is difficult to imagine, as we are still in the eye of this storm.  Over the winter break, however, I started a brainstorm sketch about the positive effects that have come during the pandemic in order to reframe my focus for 2021. This is my list below; possibly you might try the same exercise to reset your expectations for your teaching and personal life in 2021. 

Teaching

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I fell off my chair during my online class!

Happy Asian woman in hijab raising arms and stretching body while working with laptop in cozy cafe
Image Source: Bigstockphoto.com

Teachers have always been associated with having a lot of movement in their workplace. The nature of teaching and checking on students always allowed teachers to be ambulant and move around the classroom. However, COVID-19 has sent most ESL teachers home and behind their laptops all day long. Besides physical issues that sedentary behaviour can bring to everyone, it can affect the creativity and eagerness of teachers despite their good intentions. Here are five tips for those at home who feel the pain in their back and knees and want a change!

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Maintaining Balance & Thriving During COVID-19

Painted rocks, creative outlet, message of hope.
Image source: Gonul Turkdogan

What can EAP/ESL/EFL instructors do if they are laid off or have much reduced hours during COVID-19? This question concerns most of us. Like many others, I was laid off. I believe that with persistence and creativity we can stay positive. As examples to stimulate discussion, here are several things that I have found beneficial.  

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