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Pathways to Well-Being: Helping Educators Find Balance in a Connected World

Participate and share

Participate and share : Interactive lecture

Friday, December 4, 11:30 am–12:15 pm PST (Pacific Standard Time)

Dr. Sara Armstrong  
Susan Brooks-Young  

Overwhelmed? Research shows that your personal sense of well-being impacts your level of job satisfaction and students’ classroom success. Six research-based areas of focus can help you increase personal and professional well-being. Learn simple strategies you can use (online and off) to make immediate positive changes.

Audience: Teachers, Principals/head teachers, Library media specialists
Skill level: Beginner
Attendee devices: Devices useful
Attendee device specification: Smartphone: Windows, Android, iOS
Laptop: Chromebook, Mac, PC
Tablet: Android, iOS, Windows
Participant accounts, software and other materials: If attendees opt to bring a device, it just needs some type of web browser.
Topic: Social emotional learning
Grade level: PK-12
ISTE Standards: For Educators:
  • Create experiences for learners to make positive, socially responsible contributions and exhibit empathetic behavior online that build relationships and community.
For Education Leaders:
Empowering Leader
  • Support educators in using technology to advance learning that meets the diverse learning, cultural, and social-emotional needs of individual students.
Equity and Citizenship Advocate
  • Cultivate responsible online behavior, including the safe, ethical and legal use of technology.
Additional detail: ISTE author presentation, Session recorded for video-on-demand

Proposal summary

Purpose & objective

There are many stressors weighing on educators these days, particularly as we navigate the pandemic. The purpose of this session is to help them learn techniques they can use to increase their personal sense of well-being which, in turn impacts job satisfaction and student success. Simple activities grounded in six research-based areas of focus can lead to a sense of increased personal and professional well-being. This session offers an overview of these areas and easy-to-use activities participants may begin using today.

As a result of attending this session, participants will:
1. Briefly consider if technology has been a blessing or a curse for education during the pandemic.
2. Review six components of well-being educators can target.
3. Become aware of activities that are focused on the six components that they can use both personally and professionally.
4. Leave with strategies they can implement immediately to increase their sense of personal well-being.

An online agenda will be provided for use during and after the conference. Participants will be able to access all materials referenced.


1. Overview
A. Content: Overview of session purpose and objectives, introduction of presenters, setting the stage.
B. Timeline: 10 minutes
C. Process: After a brief introduction of the presenters and short overview of the session objectives, presenters introduce the online agenda and Livebinder of resources that participants may review during and after the session. Participants will engage in a brief poll about technology's contributions during the pandemic.

3. Six Activities
A. Content: Share one or two activities for each of the six areas. These activities are appropriate for adult use and can be modified for use with students. Activities are both off- and online.
B. Timeline: 30 minutes
C. Process: Presenters lead participants through a series of simple activities they will do live (one or two per target area: Getting Focused, Empathy, Kindness, Gratitude, Being Positive, and Movement). Presenters also refer participants to a Livebinder that includes information about all six areas and which will be available during and following the session.

4. Wrap-up
A. Content: Brief review of significant ideas and ways to apply this information in the workplace.
B. Timeline: 5 minutes
C. Process: Participants consider what they have learned during the workshop and how they can use this information in their personal lives and workplace, posting in chat an action step they will take.

Supporting research

The articles listed here each relate to findings tied to well-being in general or to one of the six target areas covered during this session.

Teacher Well-Being
* School Mental Health Is Not Just for Students: Why Teacher and School Staff Wellness Matters (2017). High levels of stress and burnout are common in the education field. This situation negatively impacts adults and the children they work with.

* To promote success in schools, focus on teacher well-being (2019). With all the focus on student well-being, the importance of teacher well-being is often overlooked. This article discusses the need to broaden our definition of what constitutes teacher well-being and then create environments where educators can flourish.
* Practicing Gratitude Can Be Good for Mental Health and Well-Being (2017). Review of findings from two studies suggesting that expressing gratitude improves individuals’ health while reducing stress and depression.

* You’ve Heard Gratitude is Good for You. Here’s what Science Says (2015). Findings from multiple studies show that, “Gratitude helps people optimize feelings of enjoyment, no matter what their circumstances are in life.”

Being Positive
* Optimism and Its Impact on Mental and Physical Well-Being (2010). This article offers an overview of multiple studies that explore how being positive affects mental and physical health.

* Hope & Optimism (2018). This four-year project at Cornell, University of Pennsylvania, and Notre Dame explores the positive impact of hope and optimism.

Getting Focused
* How Mind-Wandering May Be Good for You (2018). Mind-wandering actually may lead to increased creativity. This does not mean that being focused isn’t important, it is. It does mean that each state of mind is important, depending on the situation.

* Multitasking and Stress (2018). Multitasking is inefficient and leads to a variety of negative consequences including shoddy work, stress, and poor health.

* Are We Entering the Age of Empathy? (2012). Empathy allows us to understand why we feel the way we do about people or events. Experiencing empathy is key in being able to relate to the world around us.

* Six Habits of Highly Empathic People (2012). Empathy is a behavior that can lead to societal transformation and can be learned or enhanced through deliberate practice.

* The Power of Positive Self Talk (2016). “The practice of positive self-talk is often the process that allows you to discover the obscured optimism, hope, and joy in any given situation.”

* Five Ways to Kindle Kindness from the Inside Out (2017). Practicing kindness can strengthen neural networks and uplift emotions.

* Thirteen Mental Health Benefits of Exercise (2017). Exercise offers many benefits including decreased stress, improved self-confidence, and increased cognitive ability.

* How Simply Moving Benefits Your Mental Health (2016). Review of the positive effects of exercise beyond physical. For example, studies are showing that exercise can reduce depression, being as effective as medication or therapy. It can also increase focus and reduce fatigue.

More [+]


Dr. Sara Armstrong, Sara Armstrong Consulting
Susan Brooks-Young, SJ Brooks-Young Consulting

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