The Tired Teacher

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I bumped into my friend Lynn the other night as I was out on a walk.

“Are you just coming home now?” I asked. Lynn leaves early for work; I often see her heading off when I take out Miller around 6:30.

“Yes!” she said, obviously tired. “I don’t like to complain, but this is a busy time of the year.”

Lynn is a teacher, and as anyone who has kids in school or is in the education system themselves can attest, this is a busy and yet listless time of year. Teachers are tired; kids are tired. June can seem awfully long. Read more

Lifelong Learning

Although I’m not a teacher, I follow some education blogs. I’m interested in how curriculum influences thinking on what’s important (or not) in society. In addition to the what of curriculum, I’m also interested in the how of teaching: what are educators doing to engage their students? What are they doing to inspire kids to become lifelong learners?

When I say a lifelong learner, I don’t mean someone goes to school forever, although I suppose it could include that if you had the money and life circumstances. I’m thinking more of the “I can do this” mindset. When I took training in adult education, an instructor of one of the courses said that working with adult learners requires a sensitivity to the fact that no adult likes to look stupid. Walking into an education event isn’t always easy; adults are supposed to be capable and know all. The idea of school in any form is daunting for some. Read more

Beyond Words: Imagery’s Power in Health Education

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Last week I read about a Toronto artist using comics to teach about birth control, which is pretty great. Rebecca Roher teamed up with gynecologist Dr. Aparna Sridhar to create resources that are medically accurate, something Dr. Sridhar says she sees as a needed alternate to Dr. Google and the anecdotal information often found in online forums. However convincing someone might be in a forum, they aren’t a doctor examining you and your medical history. Read more

Mental Health Monday

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bird singing

Britain’s Prince Harry went public this weekend with his mental health struggles. He spoke about the shutting down he went through after his mom died when he was twelve. It’s not a surprise that someone who was so young when he lost his mom in a very public and publicized accident might have some residual depression or anxiety. His disclosure also explains the Heads Together campaign I read about a couple of weeks ago. He’s started a mental health awareness campaign with brother Will and his partner Kate. Love or hate the British monarchy and all it stands for; fighting mental health stigma is a good thing in my opinion.

Harry’s story got me looking up some other mental health stories circulating right now. Read more

How We Speak of Each Other’s Health

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Vancouver has been unusually bound by snow and ice this winter, reminding me vividly of a couple of things. One- people who drive in Vancouver are inexperienced with snow. We just don’t get enough on a regular basis to maintain good skills. Two- we are all temporarily able-bodied, as an advocate friend of mine says.

At the beginning and end of our lives, and for some of us at other points as well, we will be dependent on others to help with our mobility and often at the simplest things- food, personal care. Snowy and icy sidewalks that were left uncleared reminded me of this as I watched people struggle and skidded about myself.

There is no us and them. Read more

Friday Finds: For Better and for Worse in Health Communications

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It’s been a busy week. I haven’t been on Twitter much, because sometimes you just have to let it go. When I did hop onto Feedly here and there, I was glad to see these pieces on health communications.

What pulls all of these pieces together for me is their health literacy element. Simply defined, health literacy is the ability to understand health information so you can make informed choices. Life isn’t that simple though- health information might not always be health information; it could be advertising in disguise. Readers need to be aware what kind of information they’re reading. Is it advertising or education, or both? Read more

#BellLetsTalk Campaign for Mental Health

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Today is Bell Let’s Talk day, a campaign that has four initiatives, one of which is recognizing the importance of destigmatizing mental health challenges. The campaign started in 2010 and Olympian Clara Hughes has been speaking up and out throughout its years. She has been open about her life with depression. Other celebrities have added their voices to the campaign along the way, including Mary Walsh, Howie Mandel, Serena Ryder and Michel Mpambara. Read more

Thank You, First Responders

Most mornings I walk with my dog Miller past the coffee shop, and sometimes I see a few ambulances at the corner, the white blocky trucks making impressive outlines against the quiet street.  If you’ve ever been in an ambulance, you know how solid they feel. When I rode with someone once, I was struck by the sturdiness, so weighted to the ground as we rolled our way to the hospital. The paramedic sitting with us in the back spoke quietly and calmly.  Read more

Power Hashtag Feeds Fundraising Campaign  

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I’m fond of well used hashtags, so I like this one: #BeingHungrySucks.  It’s a tag, it’s a statement, and it’s a campaign driven by A Better Life Foundation, whose mission is to raise funds towards food security (a significant social determinant of health) as well as provide job training and employment opportunities. Programs serve Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, a trauma ridden neighbourhood that’s also rich in community and heart. Read more