“The Bachelor of Education at Trent is more than a professional education program. It’s a community in which we care about, and for, each other”, says faculty member Dr. Denise Handlarski who teaches in the School of Education and facilitates wellness sessions for students.
As Teacher Candidates were finishing the first half of their long-term placement in schools, they along with everyone else were abruptly faced with physical distancing and the closure of schools. Having built a strong bond with their schools and students, many Teacher Candidates expressed sadness at not being able to continue working with teachers and students in partner schools.
In response, the School of Education has facilitated workshops and wellness check-ins to keep Teacher Candidates and faculty connected, making sure they feel supported, and to provide ideas and resources for staying healthy mentally and physically during this unprecedented time.
Molly Klintworth, who participated in the first Wellness Zoom Room session: What to do during a Pandemic? Planning, Professionalizing, Panic-avoiding, shared that, “It was a relief to hear that I wasn’t the only one in need of some ideas to keep moving forward in my career during these uncertain times, and others had similar questions about the abrupt end of our school year.”
"Trent's wellness session on Zoom was a welcome breath of fresh air during an unprecedented and stressful time. It was an uplifting experience and comforting to see faculty's and TC colleagues familiar faces”, said Year 2 Teacher Candidate Brittney VanDersel. Other students shared similar sentiments. Teacher Candidate Allison Snobelen stated, “We’re all scared of what is to come, but connecting in whatever way we can alleviates some of that fear and brings back a little bit of perspective.”
The School of Education plans to continue with weekly drop-in sessions for students and faculty to talk about what strategies they are using to plan ahead for their teaching careers, to adapt to new routines, stay positive and most importantly to stay healthy.
Dr. Denise Handlarski is a Trent University, School of Education faculty with expertise in community-based learning, social justice, and History. She has been building wellness education programs for Teacher Candidates and their future students.