Almost There

It’s the last day of May and I’m starting to see the end of the tunnel as another school year will start to wind down.  Oh, how cliche is my first sentence. Terribly. Ugh. Why did I do that.

As an aside, when I first was typing “starting” it actually came out as “startying” much like “partying” and I feel that might be an appropriate word for this time of year, so I giggled to myself. Quickly realizing this is a “professional” blog, I put on my stern typing face and continued.  I think I have “Resting Pope Face” when I type, if you’ve seen his recent pictures meeting a few world leaders.

Anyhoo, back to my professional learning.  Last week, I ran my last event for this school year for my enrichment students.  It was a “paint party” and I’ve already linked the entry to my twitter account.  It was a fabulous afternoon of decompressing and creating exquisite masterpieces which I’m sure would garner high bids if sent to auction.

This paint party was in connection with my wellness strategy for this year. When I say wellness strategy, I have to admit that my strategy didn’t quite get off the ground this year. I had planned a number of mini-workshops and presentations, but couldn’t quite get the students to attend in droves.  It’s fairly ironic to me, because in my year-end survey, I asked what students would like, and a fair number responded with wellness activities. Yet, I offered a number of wellness presentations, and so few actually signed up.  The main excuse was, “I’m too stressed to miss class to learn how to deal with my stress”.  Seems a little circular to me, but that’s part of the problem I need to tackle.

So here are my completely unresearched findings.  The secondary program seems to find that most students are able to pursue academic challenges without a lot of guidance from me, but have a real desire to learn more “soft” skills like those involved with overall wellness.

As I mentioned, the big conundrum: How do I get stressed teens to leave their classes to attend a workshop on how to reduce stress, when they are too stressed to leave classes?

Baby steps. That’s what it takes. A majority of my wellness mini-workshops I purposely scheduled to be only 1 class period in duration. I don’t focus on too many items in any one workshop. I try to avoid scheduling too many in succession or at the same time of day, thus reducing the worry about missing too many of the same class. I bring examples and/or treats to each session. Workshops I lead for information purposes only are free. When I schedule a workshop for a specific event, I look for qualified local people with a passion for their genre.  Some events we are able to secure someone who will volunteer their time, others have offered student rates.

So, I have some good things cooking. I just have to get the students into the kitchen. I’m hoping for the few that do attend in these early stages that they are benefitting from the experiences. I’m hoping that they will share this information with their peers in enrichment and encourage them to participate. Very powerful statement: I hope.

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