Last week’s LTT newsletter was on point (sign up here) – featuring three great free resources for the LTT community to try out, all focused on social and emotional learning. One of the freebie resources is a set of slides that I used with my mentor group this week (I think this translates to ‘home room’ in the US, and ‘tutor group’ in British settings). The conceptual relationship questions are shared below (question stems in blog #3), and I just focused on the 1st question; What is the difference between a circumstance and a thought response and why does this matter for my life?

Click image to get your copy of the slides

Here are some of my students’ responses to this lesson…

(“EE” stands for Extended Essay, it’s a component of the International Baccalaureate Diploma certification).  

My students reflected how much of an impact this shift in thinking had on them, framing their thoughts in a different way made them feel differently and they could see how differently their actions and results could become from this change. 

For my younger students, we focused on the concept of well-being for our concept wall. I asked them what does well-being mean to you? This is what they had to say:

In addition to the 10/10 adorable level I can instantly see how my students are understanding this concept and where I can take their thinking next.

As promised in blog #1, at the end of each month I will showcase your experiences in the Try it Together blog. Today I have teamed up with a member of the LTT Extended Team and Performance Arts educator, Emma Avila – you’ll be able to find some of her ACT model examples in the new Visual and Performing Arts Learning That Transfers course. Here are Emma’s reflections: 

Imagine the scene. It is a Tuesday morning and you have rushed into the staff room to grab a coffee that you will take to your classroom/office while checking emails, messages and setting up for the next lesson. It should be break time but there is no time to rest. No time. A quick conversation with a colleague might be focused on how busy you are. A comparison of to-do lists that contain lesson planning, email checking, marking, meeting and research if you are lucky. It was during the ‘Goodbye to Overwhelm‘ course that my perspective started to change. Julie and Kristen talked about the importance of planning your time – in your calendar make time for marking, planning etc. The philosophy is, if it is there in the calendar you will do it. However, the most important takeaway was making sure you plan time for what you enjoy. It is imperative that teachers are able to take care of their well being, so they need to plan when to play sports, read a book or enjoy a film. It helps to take away the pressure of seeing this a guilty pleasure but as something planned.

This week I tried the exercise with a Grade 11 mentor group. They are facing pressures with looming deadlines. I created a ‘Time for Me’ chart and asked them to complete it. This was so much more difficult than first imagined. At the start of the exercise the students wanted to talk about how busy they are. Frightening points were made such as ‘I have no time…..I have two deadlines due this week.’

This was a wake up call! Teachers, as with many professions, talk about how busy they are. No time to relax. We are subconsciously sending this message out to our students. With so much media, technology and pressures students are facing we need to take time to pause, listen to each others’ needs and to put well-being at the forefront. 

The class discussion led to the importance of planning time that is not related to studying. Something to enjoy. Some personal down time. Students started to plan reading for an hour, watching a film and going for dinner in a couple of weeks time. As educators we need to take care of our well being to support student well being. Student well being needs to come first. In order to support students academically we need to support their well-being first. Let’s help them to plan down time. It is a skill we want to teach them throughout their life.

I love that Emma’s experience of applying SEL lessons from the Goodbye Overwhelm course and circumstance vs. thoughts slides helped to reveal how our thoughts have a direct impact on our feelings and subsequent action, and that our expressions of thoughts are adopted by those around us. Often as classroom teachers we power through content, thinking that efficiency and ticking off learning experiences is the key to peace of mind. But how often do we make time for thought work that improves our well-being? This week I have been making more space for personal and student thought work around circumstances vs. thoughts, and I plan to continue. If you have also been experimenting with the resources in the LTT newsletter, please let us know! 

Take care and see you next time.