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…

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…

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…

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…

Talk To Me — Set Your Secrets Free

Erin Sets Her Secret Free The phone call from Rachel that is recounted above came during Erin’s first year as a teacher. Now, looking back at the events, Erin recalls feeling isolated and “expendable”. That the principal of the school where Erin worked was too involved in other things to care much about Erin’s crisis….

Save a Life — Choose Love Over Fear

During the 2017/2018 year, the Ontario English Catholic Teachers Association (OECTA), with funding from the Ontario Ministry of Education, is supporting Collaborative Learning Community (CLC) projects. One CLC project receiving funds is “Hey, Are You Doing Alright? Taking Off Masks, Ending Stigmas, Moving On.” It gives voice to the struggles and hidden impact of mental…

Hey, Are You Doing Alright? Taking Off Masks, Ending Stigmas, Moving On

The Ontario English Catholic Teachers Association (OECTA), with funding provided by the Ontario Ministry of Education, is supporting Collaborative Learning Community (CLC) projects during the 2017/2018 school year. The CLCs allow teachers to explore, develop and share solutions to common professional dilemmas through action research, meetings with colleagues to develop resources, or by implementing proven…

Hurdles, Not Barriers: A Letter to My Students

Holy Family School Ottawa, Ontario, Canada September 2, 2017   Dear Student, Welcome to Grade 5 and the Learning Strategies Class. Please take time to read this letter that I wrote just for you. This summer, my family and I traveled through Southern Ontario. We took in the CN Tower and Toronto waterfront. Then went…

Superman (It’s Not Easy To Be Me)

It’s unfortunate that people wear masks to hide their fear and shame. That they feel a need to do so to avoid stigma. One does not have to look very deep to see the masks people wear, the courage removing them takes, and the healing that doing so enables. We are all human. We are…

I Can Only Imagine

A memory interrupts the quiet of my summer respite. Pulls me back to the early morning hours of June 24, 2015. Past the empty parking lot, through the still hallways to the St. Bernard School gymnasium. There, fans struggle to cool the hot, humid June air. Chairs stand at attention, row after row on the…