So how did it all begin?
I'm an English teacher with an Honours Degree in Psychology. I'm one of those teachers that kids talk to and despite having a Psychology degree (or maybe because of it), I knew I could listen but I couldn't really help.
Term 3, 2016- Dr Lucy Hone's presentation on Wellbeing and Resilience in Education at the NZATE conference in Christchurch changed the course of my career as high school teacher. In her 1 hour presentation, a switch was flicked in my brain. Dr Hone had named all of the challenges adolescents are facing in the modern world that I have been witnessing in the classroom: depression, anxiety, low resilience, high suicide rates, screen addictions, fear of failure. Then she proposed evidence based preventative solutions!!! I was hooked.
Term 4, 2018- I was granted a $5000 scholarship from my school to investigate Wellbeing in Education.
Term 1, 2017- I visited Grant McKibbon the HOPE (Head of Positive Education) at King's College in Auckland to learn what this NZ trailblazer had been up to for the last 5 years. I attended the first Positive Education New Zealand Conference (PENZ). I felt like I had found my people! I was sold on the AWE measure (Dr Aaron Jardon's Assessment of Wellbeing in Education).
Term 2, 2017- We started using the AWE assessment at school to track our community's wellbeing.
Term 3, 2017- I flew to Byron Bay to kick of my accredited Diploma in Positive Psychology and Wellbeing. With recognition by the NZ Psychological, association, I knew the LGI diploma was a good place for me to start.
2018- I was given 2 hours a week of curriculum time to teach MenFit as an option. I created and developed the 20 hours program which focuses on practical, evidence based activities to boost wellbeing.
Term 1, 2018- I attended the PENZ conference in Christchurch and again I was invigorated and given my next steps on the positive education adventure.
Term 2 and 3- The MenFit classes are reporting higher resilience and happiness on the AWE than boys in the same year who have not taken the class. Also high than other year groups. Success!!
Term 4- I'm teaching a 4-week community class for individuals who want to improve their own wellbeing at The Petridish because I think we could all be learning a bit more about using and enjoying our brains. MenFit for adults includes slightly more theory and research discussion but only if students ask.
So far it's fun, so I might keep doing it... Wellbeing for all?
Adrienne Buckingham has been teaching teenagers for 15 years, parenting for 8 and is on a quest to do it all better using evidence based strategies.