In July 2023, I had the privilege of attending the Innovative Schools Summit in Las Vegas, Nevada. Surrounded by thousands of educators from around North America, this summit was one of the highlights of my career thus far! I focused my professional development in the area of social-emotional learning. I attended informative sessions on topics such as building resilience in students, well-being for educators, self-regulation and many more.   

Some of my key learnings reinforced the importance of educator well-being. Natalie Fikac, from Texas, spoke about how we need to, as educators, secure our own oxygen mask first before assisting others. It is important for us to understand compassion fatigue because our own well-being is at the center of helping our students. One of the strategies she shared was a Brain Dump which is an exercise in which you take 2 minutes to write down everything that is on your mind. Another recurring theme was our universal need for relationships and connections. Whether it’s educators or students, we are all hard-wired for connection. Relationships are one of the key factors in building resilience in students. Similarly, Dr. Shaun Woodly from Georgia, reiterated that humans are highly emotional beings. Our brain cannot learn when it is in fight, flight or freeze mode. Therefore, students learn best when they feel secure and safe in their meaningful relationships at school.  

I am grateful to the Surrey Teachers Association for providing access to such inspiring learning opportunities. I encourage all my colleagues to take advantage of the International Pro-D Draw and take their professional learning across borders!

Anu Gill  
Prince Charles Elementary 

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