California Educator

June/July 2020

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Page 56 of 63

• Self-compassion. Understand you are not alone in your feelings, and be kind to yourself. "[Acknowledge] the emotions you are experiencing right now and genuinely offer yourself some understanding," Eva says in a GGSC article on teachers managing their emotions during school closures. • Affirm your values and strengths. "It's crucial to keep coming back to what matters most to you, again and again," says Eva. "Seek opportunities to enact your values in small ways each day." For example, if perseverance is a personal strength and value, model it with students, colleagues and family by sharing quotes and notes of encouragement that highlight this value. Or host a daily ritual like an online read-aloud, or feature stories of perse- verance in your online history course. • Have compassion for others and communicate it to them. Build your empathy and compassion for others by mentally — or tangibly — sending them wishes for good health, happiness and more. Eva uses "May I/you be safe; may I/you be happy ; may I/you be healthy ; may I/you live with ease," and infuses this way of thinking into her daily interactions. • Mindfulness as a way of being. Take time to simply be with your thoughts and feelings, with no judgment. You can incorporate breathing exercises and mental and phys- ical soothing techniques, such as "e CALM Reminder" by Randye Semple and Chris Willard: Check in with your chest (C), arms (A), legs (L), and mouth (M), first noticing sensations in those areas, then tensing and relaxing each set of muscles, in sequence. GGSC also advocates developing prosocial behavior to over- come feeling helpless and demoralized. Prosocial behavior is defined as behavior that benefits other people or society, such as sharing, volunteering and helping. " When we are kind or helpful in service of a value that we hold, we also affirm our belief and feel a sense of agency and efficacy," Eva explains. "[is might mean acting on] your belief that all students should have resources, or your desire to be an active citizen in your neighborhood." e result is the satisfaction of engagement and positive con- tribution, and the feeling that while "I can't control what's going on in the world, I can control what happens in my classroom." These methods have been scientifically shown to help you manage difficult emotions and stay centered and calm during stressful times. Greater Good in Education ( has extensive collections of strategies and practices for educator and student well-being (see "Resources," page 56). Beyond the research, Eva likes to point people feeling emo- tionally and physically overwhelmed to a quote by author and Buddhist scholar Joanna Macy : " You don't need to do every- thing. Do what calls your heart; effective action comes from love. It is unstoppable, and it is enough." Align your money with your values Kelly Knoche, founder of The Teaching Well and a former public school teacher, says that while resilience to stress, managing vicarious trauma exposure, and healthy communication are important parts of educators' professional development, financial wellness is also a big factor in well-being. " Teachers ask for financial wellness help," says Knoche, noting that educator salaries are oft en less than optimal and can con- tr i b u t e t o stre ss . Th e Te a c h i n g We l l (, based in Oak- land, works with school communities to assist educators at "the edges of burnout," bringing them back to wellness so that they can work sustainably at their school sites for years to come. at includes handling personal finances. "e goal of finan- cial wellness is to help people develop a healthy relationship with the money they have, and to gain tools to balance their budget and use their money in a way they feel powerful." In other words: " You learn how to align your values with how you spend your money." As an example, one of your values might be eating healthy and taking care of your body. "You make sure your budget allows access to healthy foods and ingredients for you and your family," Knoche says. "Or you may value a hobby such as playing guitar or gardening." Your budget should place a priority on the lessons or tools you need. Budgeting allows educators to see if they are spending money in a disproportionate way — such as ordering delivery, going to restaurants or bars, and online shopping — and make changes. Kno ch e recomm end s th e following resources to help educators gain control of their finances. Budgeting apps: • YNAB (; pricing varies; offers a 34-day free trial). • Mint (; free). "e goal of financial wellness is to learn how to align your values with how you spend your money." —Kelly Knoche, The Teaching Well Kelly Knoche 55 J U N E / J U L Y 2 0 2 0

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