Tag Archives: #leadershipdevelopment


Well-Being: How Do We Grow Communities of Wellness? Part 3 of 3

How Do We Grow Communities of Wellness Going Forward? How do we Address Transformation in Public Education? Well-Being Part 3 of 3

Consider a Structure for Transformation

It is a well-known fact that our school system is not structured to produce the outcomes we need in our current society. The system was formed when industries employed most workers. Assembly line workers were needed to make our economy work and people who were creative innovators could upset the economy.

But, in the 21st century, innovative, creative thinkers are what can set us apart as a
society and keep us on the cusp of an evolving world of constant change. How do we
develop innovative, creative thinkers inside the public-school system? In “The
Surprising Truth about what Motivates Us,” Daniel H. Pink states “For artists, scientists,inventors, schoolchildren, and the rest of us, intrinsic motivation—the drive to do something because it is interesting, challenging, and absorbing—is essential for high levels of creativity.” Pink is not saying that creativity is developed in isolation. However,the school system must encourage individual growth challenging students to develop their thinking and creative abilities fully. This will allow them to make the greatest contribution to a constantly changing society. It is essential that a new structure for a transformed school system is focused on developing leaders that are innovative,creative, critical thinkers. These leaders must have outstanding communication skills and be able to collaborate with others, benefiting from the synergy created.

What would it take to transform the school system?

One school at a time? One community at a time? If people are to buy into the changes, the process should be organic. The community must be totally involved. That would include businesses, parents, educators, community centers, people in religious institutions, anywhere there are people in the community.

We must come together and generate discussions through town halls, social media and everywhere people gather. When each individual experiences a sense of contribution, they also have a sense of ownership. And that is powerful! The school would be recognized as the hub of the community, the place of refuge, the gathering place for community meetings and events. A safe place for all community members to learn and grow. During weekends and all times of the day, the school would be used and a real sense of shared experiences, exploration of ideas, and creative projects would begin and be nurtured in this hub.

Who will transform the schools?

Maybe it is up to entrepreneurs who have such a passion for education that they become experts and thought leaders…thought leaders who are action oriented. Brave thought leaders who are visionaries willing and open to create organically, asking thought-provoking questions, fielding conversations, making sure there is buy-in from every level in a community. There could be educational thought leaders who educate and train, facilitate, coach and mentor. They will use these modes to inspire transformation. Most of all, they will listen and be open to consider the views, opinions and ideas of others and bring them back to the community for next steps. And they must be supported by a community of experienced educational thought-leaders at the national and/or global level.

Utilizing the Unemployed Teachers

Recently an education specialist, Iyad Abualrub from University of Oslo, Norway,
contacted me. He has a vision to support the thousands of wonderfully gifted teachers graduating from the Faculty of Education who can’t get jobs as teachers. What if they received training in an area of education in which they are passionate i.e. communication skills, team-building, facilitating, creativity training? What if they were supported in gaining experience in their niche? They could be paired with experienced educational thought leaders and go about the globe listening, facilitating and instigating change from the ground up. These bright, young leaders could be entrepreneurs making a tremendous difference in education. Right now, our graduates are a huge resource not being tapped.

Another resource is recently retired teachers who still have a burning passion to make a difference, have a growth mindset and have decades of experience to draw on. You might be interested in listening to this TEDTalk about the untapped masters doing what they feel called to do. Iyad Abualrub and I would like to instigate a conversation with other educational leaders. We are seeking leaders who have a desire to support graduates in using their skills and passions to support the educational transformation,which is so overdue.

I invite you to contact me at mb@margaretboersma.com if this is of interest to you.



Well-Being: How Do We Grow a Community of Wellness? Part 2 of 3

Well-Being: How Do We Grow a Community of Wellness? Will it Take a Transformation in Education? Part 2 of 3

Educators Discuss Health and Wellness at School

VoicEd Radio is a Canadian based, international radio station dedicated to educators. This particular podcast is “OnEdMentors.” On this podcast, passionate educators connect weekly with teacher candidates, address their questions and explore their perspectives as they prepare to enter the profession. Lots of practical ideas were shared to support teachers with mental wellness. I invite you to listen here.

Structure for Implementing Well-Being

Allow me to indulge you in a vision. Why not have leaders in social and emotional learning leverage school-wide cultural change. Each community could have an educational consultant with an expertise in social and emotional skills, based in the school. That person could also work inside the community creating a movement for community-wide cultural wellness. The school would be the hub of the community with experts offering training. The training would be for students and for adults at the school and in the community i.e. leaders of businesses, organizations and parents.

Before long, people listen to each other and communicate their listening to the speaker; no more emotional reactions; only generated responses. Imagine people having the tools to lower the stress thermometer when others come to them upset. And once the stress is lowered, only then can problem solving really begin. Wellness everywhere!

A Culture of Well-being Right Now

Create a climate of acceptance, compassion and problem solving. Build healthy
relationships inside the school, teachers with students, teachers with teachers,
administrators with teachers, caretakers with students. At the Canadian Association of Principals (CAP) conference in Saskatoon, the metaphor was healthy relationships
create the fertile ground needed to grow healthy students. Do this and your students
can soar. Your staff will feel energized while they work together as a powerful team to
achieve your collective goals!

Creating healthy working relationships requires skill in social and emotional realms. If
you would like a workshop in specific strategies you can implement right away with staff and with your students, have a look at Part 1 “Trust and Perspective” of a workshop series called, “SmArts of Well-Being.” You can find the workshop description under Cross-Curricular Workshops at www.margaretboersma.com Also, download a story that transforms with strategies to internalize the learning. That is found on the home page at www.margaretboersma.com

I welcome your comments and thoughts. If you are interested in forming a team to
forward the ideas in this blog, let’s talk. You can email me at


Well-Being in Our Relationships Part 1 of 3

Well-Being in Our Relationships Part 1 of 3

One of my grade 3 students said recently, “You mean we can be friends again after we make a mistake?” She was sorry for bullying another child on the playground. She longed to be friends again and thought that would never be possible.

How many of us do that? We make a mistake in our communication and feel like it can never be restored.

At school, administrators and teachers experience on-going stress and overload as we strive to meet the needs of every student. At report card time, we can walk into a staff room and physically sense the tension. It seems that most administrators and teachers experience stress from the end of August to the end of June.

Chronic stress inhibits change. Yet, we must change with our students, with the
digital age, with meeting educational expectations. Sometimes it feels like two plates on a fault line pushing up against one another, the pressure is so intense for so long. Then suddenly everything changes. What or who can we count on when the circumstances seem dire?

Imagine a staff with well-developed social and emotional skills. Did you know…
We can lower the stress thermometer? We must arm teachers with tools that
lower stress and make teaching fun again.

Social and emotional learning skills must address the educator first. Teacher wellness is the key to student success.

Imagine if our relationships worked. Not just amicably but relationships that are uplifting and genuinely caring and supportive.

What if there is a way to disappear hard feelings? To be totally understood by another? Coming from a neutral and open place where one is free to listen and understand? Where one could respond and not react?

These are social and emotional skills that can be taught. Imagine if we all learned these core skills? What would the workplace be like? What would our classrooms be like?

Maybe our students would build each other up, rather than put each other down.
Maybe they wouldn’t abuse drugs and alcohol. Perhaps they would be able to look at
another point of view and really “get” the other person. How amazing would that be?
On the side of the recipient, what would it be like to be totally understood by someone, even though they might not agree with you?

And maybe both students and adults would learn how to make things right because we know, life doesn’t work without trust. What if we could regain trust with another person using a simple strategy? That would be liberating!

My grade 3 students wrote a song with their music teacher during our unit together. I
think it would make a powerful school song. I am thrilled that it was shared at our Quest Conference. Listen to the song here.

It is critical that students understand we are all capable of making mistakes and
that “failure” is a wonderful teacher. And we can all recover from our
failures/mistakes by making it right. People are always changing and their
behavior is not who they are…we must make that distinction for our students.

Let’s equip our teachers in how to address interpersonal issues. Problem solving can
only occur in a clearing. Did you know you can eliminate the emotional reaction?

Then teach these practical skills to students. Everyone feels empowered and validated. A school-wide sense of connectedness provides a culture ripe for learning. The world would be a better place with these lessons learned.

Transform your school with a couple of simple but powerful social/emotional strategies! Email: mb@margaretboersma.com or call 647 881-6958.