By Betty Coneway and Janet Hindman
We read about self-care in many places and hear about it from friends and family. But have you ever invested the time to actually learn about it? What about a book club full of other educators all at different levels in their careers?
Well, that is exactly what the Iota Theta Chapter of Kappa Delta Pi did. We chose the Kappa Delta Pi publication, The ABC’s of Wellness for Teachers: An A-Z Guide to Improving Your Well-Being in the Classroom and Out, by Teena Ruark Garrow and Susan Marie Muller (2008). Our officers hosted a virtual book club over the course of four meetings. During each 45-minute Zoom session, the attendees discussed about 20 pages of the book. Our book club included individuals from the PACE program (alternative certification), clinical teachers, a graduate candidate who currently serves as a special education director, and a few undergraduate candidates in their last semesters of the traditional education bachelor’s degree. The variety of people who attended the meeting was refreshing, because we were all able to share ideas from different perspectives and learn from each other.
The cover of the book explains that it would contain hints and tips on self-improvement, classroom ideas, and also some much-needed stress breakers. This book touches on many challenges faced in the first years of teaching. Members of the book club believed the ideas in the book were something they would be able to look back on when experiencing stressful times.
There is a self-assessment at the back of the book that addresses the dimensions of wellness: emotional health, intellectual health, occupational health, physical health, social health, and spiritual health. The important message of leading a balanced life is reiterated throughout the book. As the book club members discussed their personal reflections about their overall health, we each realized that we were not alone in finding ourselves unbalanced. We all know there are many resources available to address personal wellness, but the book club allowed time and space for the participants to look at their lives, share their thoughts and personal experiences, and make connections with other individuals with similar interests.
Through this process, we realized that we need to hold each other accountable for self-care. By attending this virtual book club, we found accountability partners and friends in people who we would never have met without Kappa Delta Pi. We urge readers to consider what they’re doing to take care of themselves and lead a more balanced life. From this experience, we would encourage you to select a book and get a group together to discuss it. You won’t regret it!
Gorrow, T. R., Muller, W. M. & Kappa Delta Pi (2008). The ABC’s of Wellness for Teachers: An A-Z Guide to Improving Your Well-Being in the Classroom and Out.