If You Teach ELA, Prepare to Also Teach History

Cait O'ConnorBlog, Connect Better, Engage Better, Lesson Plan Better

TL;DR: To effectively teach English, it is important that educators also teach history. Language arts gives us the opportunity to add dimension to our students’ understanding of a specific event, idea, or person. Use historical texts to create experiences. Our students’ futures are contingent on events happening now. They can use the skills they’ve built upon as readers and writers, … Read More

Post-Pandemic Mental Health: Is Stigma Staying in 2020?

Cait O'ConnorBlog, Teach Happier

TL;DR: To end the mental health stigma, we must provide space to talk about ALL mental health/mental illness without judgment. Mindfulness is only one of the many tools teachers and students can use as a way of fostering emotional regulation. We must recognize the various types of mental illness and normalize the treatment process. Since March 2020, anxiety has become … Read More

Ditching Diet Culture at School

Cait O'ConnorBlog, Self Care Better, Teach Happier

TL;DR: Diet culture is the way a society engages with the pursuit of thinness as a way of life and a value. Diet culture shows up in classrooms through physical classroom layouts. Allowing food during class helps students meet their basic needs before they learn. Ditch diet culture at school by making flexible seating more than a fad and eliminating … Read More

Say Their Names: Holding Space for Student Identity

Cait O'ConnorBlog, Connect Better

TL;DR: Names should be celebrated and said correctly by teachers as a means of retaining student dignity and identity. Students don’t need nicknames; they need our effort and allyship. My parents named me Caitlin, which was also the most popular feminine given name of my birth year. My mom always made sure to point out that she spelled it the … Read More

Toxic Positivity at School

Cait O'ConnorBlog, Connect Better, Lead Better

TL;DR: Toxic positivity does more harm than good. Having a purely positive mindset is a privilege, and does not reflect everyone’s realities. It is important to be realistic about the situations and emotions that are present. Telling students to see the glass as half full will not wash away their anxieties. Welcome to Teach Beyond! A few weeks ago, I … Read More