The University of Lethbridge Faculty of Education is embedding an overall focus on wellness into its program. “At the school level there have been comprehensive efforts to make health and wellness a priority,” says Aaron Stout (BA/BEd’07; MA Ed.’19) “We’re trying to reflect that.” Stout and Assistant Dean of Student Program Services, Dr. Danny Balderson, have spearheaded a committee to ensure students have knowledge and access to resources and activities that promote well-being across the spectrum. In 2019 the Wellness Committee hosted a health and wellness mini-conference in partnership with the Alberta Teachers Association Health and Physical Education Council’s Ever Active Schools and Alberta Health Services.
“If we give our students a grounding in health and wellness it translates into them bringing that with them and enhancing a focus on physical, mental and emotional well-being within the school system,” says Stout.
The many dimensions of wellness include social, emotional, spiritual, environmental, occupational, intellectual, and physical. Attention to each promotes a balanced life, both professionally and personally. Stout notes that each person’s path to wellness is unique.
In the teaching profession well-being is essential, as educators juggle the demands of numerous and constantly shifting tasks. “Sometimes we develop the illusion that professionalism is all about work,” says Stout. “Fitness and well-being are just as important. We need to schedule breaks and be open and unapologetic about it.”
In addition, teachers are role models. “We talk about modelling all the time in education,” he says. “When we work with students, representing ourselves as whole people is important.”
For this reason, Education faculty at the U of L endeavours to model health and wellness to pre-service teachers in the hope that they will share and model it with their own future students and colleagues, and — in a trickledown effect — positively impact friends, family and beyond.
Writer: Elizabeth McLachlan, Photo: courtesy of Beth Cormier, taken by Suzanne Kirby
Related story links to the Faculty of Education Wellness Initiative series:
• The Faculty of Education WELLNESS INITIATIVE: Supporting a Focus on Health and Well-Being
• Wellness is Stillness: Jane O'Dea (dean emerita)
• Wellness is Coping with Stress Through Art and Music: Jenn Pellerin
• Wellness During the COVID-19 Experience, PSII, and Staying Connected: Kelsey Shoults
• Wellness is Being in the Moment: Kenneth Oppel
• Twitter Education Community: Books are a Form of Wellness
• Wellness is About Having a Consistent Routine: Alex Funk (BEd '17)
• Wellness is Spiritual: David Slomp
• Wellness is Ranching: Danny Balderson
• Coping with COVID-19: Harnessing our Natural Stress Response
• Coping with COVID-19: Loneliness
For more information please contact:
Dean's Office • Faculty of Education
University of Lethbridge
Learn more about the Faculty of Education: Legacy Magazine (2008-2019)
Twitter: @ULethbridgeEdu Website: uleth.ca/education
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