Over the past three years Saskatchewan schools have lived through shutdowns, quarantines, masking, sanitizing, social distancing, cancelled events, and missed social opportunities. These seismic changes brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic have undoubtedly had an impact on our teachers and students.

Recognizing the need to reflect on and learn from these experiences, the McDowell Foundation issued a Special Directed Call in February 2022 inviting teacher researchers to engage in research focused on student and/or teacher well-being in the (post) COVID-19 public education system in Saskatchewan.

One of the projects approved through this call, Understanding the Perspectives of Teachers who Engage in Regular Physical Activity and Subsequent Implications of Teacher Well-being recognizes the urgent need to pay attention to teacher well-being and the lack of research related to the physical domain.

Seleste Eftoda, a student support services teacher from Meadow Lake, Saskatchewan, shares one insight gained through her research thus far: “Neither the system alone nor the teachers alone can ensure the well-being of educators. It requires the participation of the entire school community, including teachers, leadership, counselors, community members, parents, and students, working together towards this goal.”

 A second project, led by Saskatoon teacher researchers Ivy Armstrong and Dr. Judy Jaunzems-Fernuk, is titled, Pandemic ‘Thrivers’: Investigating the Knowledge, Skills, and Attitudes of Thriving Teachers during the COVID-19 Pandemic of 2020-2022. This project is focused on teacher attributes, efficacy, and resiliency in the context of a worldwide pandemic.

Taking an innovative approach to a challenging situation, learning coordinator/school counselor Ivy Armstrong shares, “This research has continued to support my belief in the power of hope and optimism within the teaching profession. Teachers are professionals who embrace the love of learning.”

The research creates some additional thoughts around the empowerment of teachers, providing them with professional learning opportunities and embracing the time to explore a positive mindset. Dr. Judy Jaunzems-Fernuk says, “This research inspires me! I was thrilled to see, not only t he connections among what the teachers were saying regarding the power of relationships and life-long learning, but that we can all learn from and apply these skills to build our own resilience in the profession. These teachers exemplified that strength can be built through adversity.”

Through your donations, the McDowell Foundation provides teachers and researchers the tools to develop successful, meaningful, and achievable research projects based on reflective practice and learning for al l students. Your contribution continues to support these valuable research projects, allowing teachers to examine and create new action-based research ideas like the projects described above.

The McDowell Foundation is grateful for your ongoing contribution. By providing a donation to the McDowell Foundation, your support continues to encourage innovative research homegrown in Saskatchewan. Please consider sending in a donation through our website at: https://mcdowellfoundation.ca/donations.

Thank you for your support of teacher-led research in Saskatchewan.
Ellen Whiteman, Manager, McDowell Foundation

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