Seek Justice

As I park my car, a sea of pink cherry blossoms covering the four trees abutting the school parking lot greets me. The cheerful blossoms stand in sharp contrast to the realities being reported over the car’s radio as I drove here for a day full of IPRC meetings. Government cutbacks, teacher layoffs, cuts in…

Calm the Storm

Welcome to Calm the Storm. This website was developed by Kim El Ghazal and myself as part of our Ottawa Catholic School Board Innovation Fund Project. Through which we sought to incorporate the OCSB Strategic Goals and the Board’s theme, Seek Justice, into a unit for elementary level students about Mental Health. This unique resource…

A Year In Measure

Every morning, minutes before sunrise, an orchestra of birds holds forth outside my bedroom window. Today, their melodic blend of pitches and tones, welcome me to an early sunrise on this late Spring day. Amidst the tweeting and chirping of the birds, I contemplate the peace and serenity surrounding me. As I do, a stream…

Learning to Exhale

It’s mid-July. I sit alone in my new house for the first time. The carpenters, painters, and electricians who are renovating it have left for the day. A light shining through the exposed floorboards extends two floors below. Overhead wires dangle. Outside, remnants of the house spill over the sides of two dumpsters. Amidst the…

The Monster Within: PTSD

Not all seeds that are planted germinate and bloom. Some lay dormant until, under the right conditions, they are able to flourish. Such is the case with this story. Last year, as part of the Hey, Are You Doing Alright? project, I interviewed a colleague.  Bravely taking off her mask, she shared her story about…

A New Teacher And Her Well-Being Strategy

The week of May 7 to 13, 2018 is Mental Health Week in Canada.  Mental health addresses our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It impacts how we think, feel, and act.  Our mental health determines how we handle stress, relate to others, and make choices in our lives.  Each of us—young and old—has mental health. In…

Owning Our Learning Differences

I welcome Alessia Zaino a first-year teacher candidate from the University of Ottawa. In her guest post below, Alessia examines her students’ attitudes and reflections during the Language unit Fish In A Tree. The unit brought greater awareness to the importance of recognizing and accepting individual learning differences. The value is in recognizing that our brains are as unique as…

From Darkness…Hope

Sun pours in through the window of the Holy Family School Learning Commons. On the pavement below, melting snow washes away the grime of winter. On the edges of the puddles it forms, green grass emerges. After spending too many gray, winter days indoors, this Spring day, with its promise of new life and new…

Strong Not Weak

Our OECTA CLC team welcomes Isabella Visentin a second year teacher candidate from the University of Ottawa. Isabella’s passion for teaching commenced at a young age and flourished when she began teaching her beloved art form of dance nine years ago. Approximately five years ago, Isabella was diagnosed with anxiety. In her guest post below, Isabella will…

Together We Climb

Matthew: Loses His Grip For Matthew, the panic attack is a harsh reminder of the severity of his illness. And the reality, that despite his best efforts to hide it behind a mask of normalcy the mask can, and does at times, slip off. That day, in the gym he could neither suppress nor hide…

Sensemaking After Tragedy

Our OECTA CLC team welcomes Teresa Gross, a Middle School School Teacher from New York. Teresa passionately advocates for Mental Health.  In her guest post below, Teresa shares reflections on the untimely death of her father. Teresa’s post is in response to Safe Talk – A Metamorphosis, a post I wrote with Chris Nihmey about suicide. These posts…

Safe Talk – A Metamorphosis

This blog post is raw, authentic, and emotionally stirring. The stories shared may bring up many dark feelings within you. If this is the case, please make sure you speak to a family member, a friend, or a doctor if necessary. Thérèse: On the Frontline of Suicide Prevention Thérèse did face her fear and free…