Whether it’s creating teaching resources or cleaning her house, Grade Two/Three teacher Sally Leung (BA/BEd ’17) gains a sense of well-being from feeling productive. After COVID-19 closed schools in the spring of 2020, she and team teacher Joel Stretch (BA/BEd ’16) adapted to delivering lessons online and, even in the face of the pandemic, Leung found ways to strike a healthy work/life balance.
What are some activities that bring you a sense of well-being through productivity?
I taught myself graphic design and I do a lot of visual art and design on my computer. I’m into photography and videography. I play piano, acoustic guitar, banjo, ukulele, and I also have a harmonica. I started electric guitar this year—and I love biking. I bought a really nice bike at the start of the pandemic (sold my old bike to a co-worker), and I’ve been biking to work a lot. It’s a fun way to get exercise in!
Have your wellness activities changed since the pandemic began?
I used to play guitar every day, but since the pandemic I’ve been going more to my piano. It’s very calming. I have a checklist of things I didn’t get around to doing during the regular school year and busy summer—things like organizing my closet, basement, and garage. I’m not very handy, but I figured out how to install shelves in my garage, organized everything in bins, and hung some hooks. As things have opened up, I’ve been inviting friends in twos or threes to hang out on my patio. That’s been really nice.
How do you incorporate wellness activities into your work life?
A few of us started biking to work. We even got our principal and vice-principal to join in. It’s like a morning party!
When distance learning began because of COVID, some of our Grade Twos were feeling really sad and didn’t understand why they were doing schoolwork at home. So Joel and I rode our bikes and visited each student 2–3 times. We played a variety of numeracy and literacy games outside with sidewalk chalk. It was good for them to know that even though we’re quarantined we can still see each other from a safe distance.
We’ve been filming lessons on video with my DSLR [digital single-lens reflex camera] and green screen, and updating our website and YouTube weekly.
Do you have any advice or suggestions you can offer colleagues at this time?
I’m happy that other teachers have been using our videos. It saves them the effort of having to film and edit their own lessons, which I hope is easing some of their planning and workload. But there’s something special about teachers making their own videos so their own students can have that consistency and see a familiar face. I’ve been spending a lot of time with my friend Jamie and her husband, Dr. Jeffrey MacCormack. I recently watched his TEDx talk. He explains that teachers hold themselves to such a high standard and they need to realize that it’s okay to not be perfect.
Everyone has their flaws, and that’s what makes them so unique. I know I often have to remind myself of this, and I’m sure there are others who can also relate!
Writer: Elizabeth McLachlan, Photo courtesy of Sally Leung
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 About Writing: Teri Hartman (BA/BEd '02, current MEd student)
• Wellness is Spending Time Outdoors: Dana Visser
• 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
• 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
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