"As abolitionists we must be well; we cannot settle for just being alright. Wellness is a part of social justice work. There must be an inner life that refuses to be treated less than human." (Bettina Love, 2019)
Teacher well-being is the core of social justice work, because teachers who are unwell, disconnected, over-worked, and stress-out have a much harder time connecting with their inner life-- with their joy, passion, purpose, wisdom, and conviction. Stress desensitizes us. Stress disconnects us. Stress disassociates us. And the teaching profession, as a heart-centered profession, is inherently stressful.
Teacher burnout dis-integrates the selfhood of the teacher, and when the selfhood of the teacher is misaligned, the teacher is not able to show up to engage her/his/their calling from the TRUTH of who they are.
"The heart of justice is truth telling,
seeing ourselves and the world
the way it is rather than the way we want it to be."
There is another way...
Teacher well-being is the perpetual process of metabolizing stress, not as moments that are destined to break one's spirit, but rather as moments imbued with infinite potential and possibility to free one's self from fear, trauma, and unworthiness by intentionally expanding one's critical awareness of one's self, another, and the context of the moment.
When teachers learn how to strategically metabolize stress and re-engage stressful moments in teaching as their greatest opportunities for self-expression and self-transformation, teaching becomes a spiritual practice. It is a spiritual practice in that these opportunities invite the teacher to become more whole; more in alignment with the true self; more loving inside and out.
Teacher well-being work is all about coming home to the self-- to learning how to notice and names one's very own judgements against the self and another and re-story (i.e., restore) the inner chatter that frames one's beliefs and perceptions to be more in alignment with their core values, mission, and calling.
In this session, we will be intersecting the work of 3 fierce black women: bell hooks, Audre Lord, and Bettina Love while we explore hooks' 6 dimensions of love and how these core elements of "love" need to BOTH be cultivated in loving ourselves so that we better know how to love all our students.
In this highly experiential learning session, teachers will:
Explore the 6 dimensions of love by bell hooks
Learn how "wellness is wisdom" and how it is a critical part of social justice work.
Explore how teacher critical consciousness, commitment, and conviction are core elements of teacher well-being and fundamental to fighting racism and dis-rupting systems of oppression and neglect.
Learn about the origins of trauma and the origins of healing while exploring strategies to heal one's own trauma triggers induced by classroom stress.
Engage a deeply restorative body scan
Practice METTA/Loving Kindness meditation
Using the Teacher Infinite Well-Being ModelTM, teachers will practice "processing a problem" through the 4 quadrants of the model and explore how to align one's self with their core values and desired justice-based actions during a trigger moment.
Explore strategies to create stress-sensitive and trauma-informed classroom spaces using the 6 qualities of love by bell hooks from her bookL: all about love (2000).