The past two weeks have been full of stressful, sad, exciting, and rewarding moments. I have learned about tragedies affecting educators and the detriment it can cause. These occurrences are bound to happen in my lifetime, so I have been seeking advice of how to best take care of myself and keeping up with the pace of being an educator. I received wonderful advice from my university coach, who said, "Sadly there will be things that will happen in your career that are really tough. Just be sure to get the appropriate support rather than sweep everything under the rug." I had realized in many situations, particularly those which included my students' personal challenges and then this recent tragedy, I found myself taking that emotional weight onto my own shoulders. There is a gentle balance between showing your students that you care while also protecting your own well being. I had the wonderful opportunity to participate in two classes which were hosted on an "education development" day at Fossil. The first course focused on mindfulness + the second was titled "rewiring for resiliency". After the stress of that week I was really excited to sit in on these courses with the rest of my team. I would like to briefly present my notes from each class, as I found the information to be extremely important (especially right now)
The speaker of this class frequently posts sticky notes on her work space as daily reminders to practice mindfulness. One should have specific goals in mind when they begin their practice or set wellness goals:
INTENTION + ATTENTION = FOCUS WITHOUT JUDGEMENT
*Let go of the things that no longer serve you + move toward what is precious
*SEWA = tenderness
We can also think about "Soma" yoga. Soma yoga is any number of practices that incorporate the movement healing system of somatics. The idea behind somatics is that slow, gentle exercises re-educate the nervous system and allow the release of tight, restricted muscles, thereby promoting healing. Some specific methods we can use each day include:
>breath (most accessible) requires 2-3 good breaths to calm the mind
What does this look like in practice?
Rest Practice *remember these are your birth right*
1. Stop, be still
2. Slowly come home into yourself/your body (breathe)
3. Practice healing, forgiveness + arrival (What can I forgive + release so I can just "be here"?)
4. Use the breath as a tool to integrate - gather in everything + allow those to integrate into who you are + what you're experiencing. You can also release those that no longer serve you.
5. Move from thinking mind into body - find tension + use your exhale breath to release them.
6. Come to your integrated self - perfect healing of inner + outer self. Come into this moment.
7. Blink eyes back open - come home.
*How can I continue the movement toward what is precious?
-REWIRING FOR RESILIENCY-
+ Rewiring for calm requires repetition and practice
You have to practice when you ARE calm and then practice it later. It is easier to apply when you practice in the moments you aren't upset or angry, but when you can fully recognize the process and how it feels.
REPEAT - PRACTICE - LEARN
+ CALM: take a breath video
"When the storm blows hard you must stand firm, for it is not trying to knock you down, it is really trying to teach you to be strong." -Joseph Marshall III
THINK: It has been a hard week, but it has been a hard week because I care.
The instructor asked the participants to organize a response for the following question:
Why did you go into education? What values led you here?
> Art is important amd I wanted kids to know that it is a valuable passion.
> Some kids need love and support - they may be happiest, safest, and most loved in your classroom.
> I can use my life experiences to connect to people and be able to help someone + myself along the way.
When it comes to managing stress, you can also rewire your brain to view the physical reactions as positive influences that assist you throughout the situation:
FIGHT OR FLIGHT | think about the benefits of the physical reactions when it comes to stress
PLAYMAKERS: Life is Good video
> Trauma can bond people, but so can laughter. It reduces stress, boosts your mood, etc. Keep playing and seeking JOY.
PROJECT BETTER SELF: How to Waste Your Life + Be Miserable
My students in Studio Art History have recently been studying The Renaissance, including egg tempera, oil, and the work of Leonardo da Vinci alongside other big names from the time period. For our most recent project, the students were tasked with making their own egg tempera paints. This project was SO fun to do alongside them! I was able to make paint with the kids and reflect on my own view of the projects. The assignment was a "shrine painting" to depict something you honor, worship, or find great value and comfort in. I loved how this connected with our mindfulness and resiliency courses! :) I included my process images and artist statement in the photos below:
This blog thread is a synopsis of my experience student teaching during the final semester of my senior year, fulfilling the last service credit hours of my art education degree. I fulfilled the first eight weeks of my placement at Fossil Ridge High School, with Chelsea Ermer as my mentor. The final eight weeks of my placement were fulfilled at Coyote Ridge Elementary school, with Staci Sandelin as my mentor. I have completed a series of written reflections accompanied by physical art works which relate to the written portion of each post.