Sunday, March 22, 2020

Put Your Mask on First Before Assisting Others

This month I am participating in the 13th Annual Slice of Life Story Challenge. Visit Two Writing Teachers for more information.

Put your mask on first before assisting others.

We've all heard that reminder every time we've sat on an airplane. This week, I've also heard it a number of times in relation to teaching and learning. I first heard Clare Landrigan say it during a virtual meeting of a group of reading specialists talking about how to support literacy learners through online learning. A day or two later, I read the same message in a Twitter post from The Educator Collaborative. As educators, many of us think of others first, but in order to be at our best we need to make sure we take care of our own well-being, too.

Teacher self-care and my own self-care has been on my mind during this time of the coronavirus pandemic which has impacted both our personal lives and our teaching lives. I've been thinking a lot about what I can do to feel less stressed and overwhelmed. I'm starting to make a list of self-care strategies that I can put into practice. Breath. Read. Exercise. Think positively. Take a bath. Listen to eighties music. These strategies can only help to calm my mind and bring me some happiness.

Happiness has been a theme for me this past school year. At the beginning of the school year, a personal/medical issue prompted me to consider my happiness and how I could find more of it. I've been thinking about happiness ever since and even more so now. I've been intrigued by a course taught at Yale University on well-being, Psychology and the Good Life, by Professor Laurie Santos since I read about it a few years ago. A version of this course, Yale's most popular, The Science of Well-Being, is available for free on Coursera (you can read about it in this article). Since my days are now spent almost entirely at home and I have oodles of time, I enrolled in the course. I completed the first week of the course yesterday and I already feel like I have gotten some good insight into the concept of happiness and the practices that contribute to well-being. For my own self-care, I think this course is just what I need right now. If anyone else happens to find it interesting and decides to enroll, let me know because I'd love to extend learning even further by chatting with others about it.

Some Books I've Read Recently Related to Happiness and Well-Being

Happier Now: How to Stop Chasing Perfection and Embrace Everyday Moments (Even the Difficult Ones) by Nataly Kogan

The Rabbit Effect: Living Longer, Happier, and Healthier with the Groundbreaking Science of Kindness by Kelli Harding

Start with Joy: Designing Literacy Learning for Student Happiness by Katie Egan Cunningham


  1. There is so much truth to tending to ourselves as well, not only, but perhaps especially, in moments of crisis. I've been seeing a lot about the Yale course and am intrigued by this opportunity. Thank you for sharing your titles as well - I will certainly check them out.

    If you haven't heard of Gretchen Rubin she has some fabulous books on happiness as well. My favorite is The Happiness Project. Be well!

    1. Yes, the Happiness Project is one of my favorites. I enjoy listening to her podcast as well.

  2. I love how you have taken on the challenge of learning about happiness. I just looked at the course and it looks very valuable. I also recommend the Gretchen Rubin podcast!

  3. I just requested the first two titles you mentioned. I think I'm almost at the maximum holds list. And who knows when we'll get them? Might look at the course, but I'm finding that all the resources available get in the way of my reading life which definitely makes me happy.

  4. Hey - we both wrote about the same thing today! I did not see that from EdCollab - glad to see their message. I haven't read the Rabbit Effect - will put it on my list. Thank you - I'm going to give listening to 80s music when I cook tonight.

  5. Thank you for the book recommendations! I am going to sign up for the Yale course this week, upon the suggestion of yet another colleague. (Seems great minds think alike!) Self-care is a hot topic this week, as the reality of social distancing truly sinks in. Thanks for offering your thoughts on the subject.