November & December 2020

CCTI Newsletter 2nd Edition, 2020

Self-Care Edition

Welcome back to our second newsletter for this academic year. Autumn is a time of seasonal change and a period of transition. The days begin to shorten and the weather begins to cool.

While this can be an exciting time, it is also a time to care for yourself as you care for others. As you read, view, and listen to the resources below, consider that assisting students in their own self care can only be done if you are taking care of yourself. You will find resources for your own self care, reflection and focus tools, and materials to assist your students.

This is a time to lean on others as you collaborate in class, and in your PLNs. Take inventory of the resources available to you. Resources are articles and links in this newsletter, but can also be your instructors and coaches.

Please let us know when you need support!

Lisa and Kathy

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Knowing and Taking Care of Yourself

The Invisible Impact

I remember the first time I experienced the aha moment. You know, the one where you could say to yourself, "This is why I became a teacher." It is the moment where the struggle is worth every moment. It is the reckoning that you were supposed to be at this school at this time. It is the first time you see or feel your impact with a student, and you feel their impact on you.

I remember wishing I had gotten a particular school, or a particular grade, or department. This would pass immediately when I realized a student needed me so much more than I needed any one particular thing, grade, course, class, etc. I remember my inner monologue, "I get it now. It really is about time and place."

Some of these moments took longer than others. One moment came a few years later, when a student's brother ran off the bus just to come visit me because his brother, now deceased, how spoken so often of how much I impacted him. He would later become my student, and aspire to be a teacher.

If you cannot see your impact, know that it is there. Your presence, and reliable visibility in class, provides continuity in a changing world. So please, engage in self care as you care for others.

You are impacting each other, your are impacting us, and you are making this program better now, and for the future.

Faith is believing in things you cannot see.

Believe in yourself; Lisa and I believe in you and we see you.

Kathy Saunders

A New School Year Like Any Other

A New School Year Unlike Any Other

Believe in Yourself and be Authentic with Students

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These are Challenging Months for Teachers

Hang in there. If you are feeling a bit discouraged right now, this is normal. You are not alone and this can change. November and December can be challenging months for teachers.

Taking care of yourself is not a guilty pleasure. It is necessary for your body and mind. Traditionally, teachers provide for others. Educators enter the profession with a desire to help grow students and to participate in the greater societal good by touching every career, in one way or another, by inspiring learning. The trend tells us that November and December are predictably tough. This is good to know so we can expect it and also not feel isolated in our challenges and feelings, knowing we are not alone.

Why wait until January to feel rejuvinated? Take the time you need now with shorter opportunities for self-care routines. This may look like keeping snacks in your desk, keeping a stress ball, talking a walking break (or maybe forcing yourself to take one), having a self-care buddy, etc. Trust me, your body will make you take a break if you don't create one for yourself.

These months, leading-up to the Winter Break, can be daunting in traditional settings. You are working hard through extremely challenging times. As such, self-care is even more important right now.

If possible, use the time during the Thanksgiving break to reset. Once you return, you will be working in the shorter month of December and will have time for more self-care during the Winter Break.

After break, you will be entering what is traditionally known as the Rejuvination Stage for teachers. It is the time where you have the extra enthusiasm you may have thought you lost. It wasn't gone before, it was just wrapped in the need for more self care.

Kathy Saunders

Self-Care for Teachers

5 Simple Ways to Manage Stress This Year

5 Simple Ways to Manage Stress This Year

Finding ways to process the challenges of this year will be critical for teachers.

By Lori Desautels

October 20, 2020

Educators this year are faced with a multitude of decisions and reflexive reactions as schools and communities try to create the safest plans for the return to school, and the chronic unpredictability of this situation wears on our nervous systems.

Why is this? Our brains and bodies are being flooded with millions of bits of sensory information every day, but with an increase of anxiety and worry, these sensations can trigger our stress response systems, causing our bodies and brains to move into a survival state where we find ourselves feeling chronically unsafe, dysregulated, and stressed.

These feelings can show up in the body as tightness, tense muscles, headaches, nausea, rapid heartbeat, shortness of breath, or a variety of other sensations. If we do not metabolize and process how we are experiencing these sensations and emotions, our immune systems can become compromised and we find ourselves living day after day in a fight, flight, or freeze response. Unprocessed negative emotions can be expressed in our bodies, and we can feel a knot in our stomach or a lump in our throat, or we may become choked up and teary. We may feel hot and sweaty, or experience a pounding in our ears or heads.

When we’re aware of these sensations and feelings, we can begin to address our mental and physical well-being. Below are practices and strategies that address nervous system regulation and can be implemented in just a minute or two each day.

A calm brain can calm another brain. When we find our inner balance and feel grounded, we’re able to share this with our students and colleagues. Emotions, negative or positive, are contagious, and when we prioritize the health of our nervous systems, we can share that health and well-being with all those around us.


1. Take some belly breaths: A few long, deep belly breaths coupled with calming sounds provide rhythmic healing to a worn-out nervous system. Before you go to sleep or first thing when you awaken, step outside and just listen to the night or morning sounds. Sit comfortably, and for two or three minutes take a few deep breaths, exhaling a few seconds longer than you inhale. Listen to the rhythm of the crickets, katydids, or morning birds.

2. Try a yoga pose: There is growing research on the benefits of certain yoga poses to relieve anxiety and calm the nervous system. One of the most powerful ways to feel immediate relief from the overwhelming sensations of the day is to lie on your back with your legs straight up at a 90-degree angle against a wall. You can place a pillow under your head, but with your legs elevated, take a few minutes and breathe all the way down to your belly, feeling it rise and fall with each inhale and exhale. This pose produces a release of anxiety in the body.

Read more here: Link

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Closing Thoughts