Learning & Teaching
Tips for out-of-school time staff to weather the moment
from Melina O'Grady, Quality Improvement Coach and Facilitator
Balance media consumption. You can stay informed and in balance. The barrage of negative news of all kinds can leave us feeling afraid, angry, helpless. It’s ok to take breaks, to tune down or tune out for short and longer stretches. Practice spending as much time creating, exercising, socializing, reflecting, being silent, singing, dancing, playing, sketching, and dreaming as you do catching up on the day’s news.
Add in daily doses of laughter. Laughter can be a great antidote to global pandemic stress! Find different ways to nurture your humorous side, and reach out to people who make you smile. Smiles are contagious!
Build your brain. Taking care of your cognitive side can boost your esteem, help you make better decisions, give you more insight. Read and listen to things you’re interested in – science, technology, astronomy, deep oceans, dense rain forests, languages, cultures, your own ancestry, even the neurological impacts of stress. STEAM habits of mind refers to this as the practice of “Stretch and explore.” More on adolescent cognitive development here. More on learning how to manage secondary stress here.
Live your commitments - take a few minutes each morning to remind yourself who and what you are committed to and how to nurture those relationships
Journal – writing works out your brain, it’s like exercise for your grey matter
Check in with yourself – body, mind, spirit. Check yourself throughout the day. Reflect, tell someone what you notice.
Play and be playful - Play has so many benefits to well-being! Play games you know, make up new games, push through hesitation.
Learn a new skill – get inspired by Virgil Abloh
Imagine a new future - with Sonya Renee Taylor
Take a mindfulness course - with the Lineage Project
Get Outside – yes, even in winter! Notice nature around you. Nature heals.
Melina O'Grady serves as a Quality Coach and facilitator with Agenda for Children OST where she is responsible for supporting OST programs through the Quality Improvement System. She is also an independent education consultant with roots as a counselor and teacher and a vision for creating and supporting dynamic learning environments in and outside of schools that fully engage both teacher and student. Her 20 years of experience spans residential facilities, arts organizations, juvenile hall and out-of-school time programs in Cambridge, Boston and across the country. She founded a nonprofit girls journalism organization in San Francisco, and currently works with schools and districts to integrate social emotional learning and development in the classroom. firstname.lastname@example.org