One of the great benefits of quitting full-time teacher and delving into the world of Wellbeing is the interesting conversations I am getting to have. Finding a tribe outside of education who have the same interests, same questions and are achieving totally cool things in completely different fields is a joy.
Working out of The Petridish I have met the very cool Dr Matt Jenkins from Mensana Movement who works in the field of exercise psychology and motivation. I also connected with the lovely Jo Tiszavari from Truce who is an ex-cop working in the space of restorative practice and conflict resolution.
We decided to combine forces to sit around a round table to discuss Wellbeing, change and the work we find most interesting; being human.
Stream or download us out at The Wise & Well.
Dr. Guy Winch's TED Talk Why We All Need to Practice Emotional First Aid is one of my favourite resources for senior students. Often, I sneak it in as an example of public speaking. I have showed this to every senior class I have taught in the last 3 years and it always well received. Most notably by a Year 13 high achiever a taught in 2017 who came in the next day and said, "Miss- that was life changing."
Big words for a hardworking, intelligent, like-able future Olympian trialist.
If our best and brightest are having their lives improved by an emotional education- then I'd argue this might help everyone in the room. Especially the middle kids.
I like Guy Winch for a few reasons- he speaks well, he's a great male role model to use at a boys school and he shares his own personal experiences. As a psychologist, he doesn't hide behind a cloak of authority.
The human experiences is just that- applicable to all humans. Worth a watch!
p.s. Heads up- I've tried this with Year 9s and 10s- not quite accessible enough. Not enough fart jokes.
Today we spent MenFit looking at the evidence based strategies of savouring. We started the lesson as we always do by writing down our 3 Good Things and sharing one with the class for the roll. This is an almost effortless way to start the class off on a positive note and help the boys to practice the ability to "Hunt The Good". Very important for the adolescent (and any) brain that is prone to negativity.
Next we played hang man because what 14 Year Old doesn't want to outsmart their teacher? And they did eventually. They think they won, they learned a new word so I think I won. We all won!
R U M I N A T I O N
Together we defined this as: Overthinking the negative events. To chew over. And I told my (now hilarious) story about pulling out of the school gate in front of about 400 members of the school community and pulling on the the wrong (RIGHT!) side of the road. I explained how students brought it up with me for days after and how I could have died of embarrassment at the time but we all agreed still thinking about this silly, ancient mistake was pretty silly. Teenagers can see others so much more clearly than themselves ad immediately, I could see a few faces connection to their own ruminations.
Next we guess what we could replace rumination with and, of course, there were plenty of answers: sport, study, reading, music, social media. So then I asked, "So what's the opposite of rumination?"
I suggested savouring. Evidence based, sensory experience to slow down and enjoy the good experiences we have in front of us. And this was the tricky bit: holding back 21 teenage boys from chowing down on a tiny morsel of chocolate.
We agreed that usually it would take us less than 30 seconds to tear open and devour our favourite, Favourite. We also agreed to slow down and follow the instructions and use the graduation worksheet steps to explore each of the 5 senses. I set a timer.
We drew, we coloured, we sniffed, we stared at it and we even watched the marshmallow test video:
And after about 12 minutes we took the tiniest bites and wrote at least 5 describing words about the taste. Then we inhaled the rest...or so I thought.
Afterwards, we reflected and the linked this skill to other areas of life and planned to use this strategy everywhere from getting into the ocean on a hot day, to other meals to walking slowly between classes on a sunny day (sorry next lesson teachers...and I imagine I'll get getting a call from the principal about being everyone's excuse for being late).
And the, of course, there were one or to clever clogs who showed me their uneaten Favourites on the way out of the lesson. I have no doubt those boys will have excellent retirement savings one day.
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.