Two years ago BC teachers were getting ready to go on strike. We were fighting together for better class composition, smaller class size and increased pay.
Teachers were unhappy, overwhelmed and underappreciated. During this time, I went looking for what made me feel better, and I discovered the science and research behind positive psychology. Shawn Achor’s TED Talk: “The Happy Secret to Better Work” resonated deeply; I felt like I found my calling.
Immediately after, I was inspired to share the philosophies of positive psychology in classrooms and throughout education, and I needed to start with teachers. I hosted a workshop called The Advantage of Happiness at our local professional development conference here in Victoria, BC in February 2015. I was nervous to present to my peers and colleagues, and wondered if they would see the benefits of enhancing their own wellness as much as I did.
Well, I learned quickly that teachers wanted to learn more about wellness. They wanted more information about mindfulness. They wanted to know how to help themselves and their students. I was reminded about how much teachers care.
So, I went looking for changemakers in our district. I started running workshops on my own time. I started seeing that when teachers invested in themselves they started seeing a difference in their classroom. I started seeing them shine. I started to have more hope and more energy.
My biggest reason for creating positive change: I have two children just starting in public education. I want to invest in teachers because I want my kids to have the opportunity to come into their classroom with a teacher who is self-aware, self-regulated and positive. I want all children to know they matter, they are seen, they are heard and they are valued EVERY day of their education career.
As a high school counsellor, I see students daily who have not had the benefit of learning self-regulation, emotional intelligence, and how to improve their character and their mindset. The reality of students in 2016 is that they deal with depression, self-doubt, anxiety and major addictions. I want to be a part of an education movement that models well-being for teachers,students and their families.
This is what keeps me going. This is my why: