PERMA and Character Strengths

  1. Brief overview of PERMA
    1. Read a short article explaining the acronym.
    2. 5 minute video with brief explanation. The longer video is here. 
  2. Access your character strengths to maximize your well-being
  3. What are your character strengths.  Take the assessment. (You must register first)
    1. Short Survey
    2. Longer survey
    3. Description of character strengths and the virtue category they belong to. 
    4. Optional (but in reality, it is all optional) This looks like a good video on why operating in your character strengths improves your satisfaction in the areas of PERMA.
  4. Discussion
    1. On a scale of 1-5, with 1 being non=existent and 5 being “the best it could be”
      1. Positive emotions (fun)
      2. Engagement (flow)
      3. Relationships
      4. Meaning (sense of purpose)
      5. Sense of Achievement
    2. Times in your life when you were scoring 4-5 in each of those areas.  Take a walk down memory lane and stir up some pleasant thoughts.
    3. What do you do now that gives you the highest levels of satisfaction in each area?
    4. What are some things that you are not doing, or could be doing to increase your level of satisfaction in each area?
    5. How could using your character strengths improve your satisfaction in your life?  Work? Home?  
    6. What’s getting in the way of your taking steps to increasing your sense of wellbeing?  E.g. fear, shame, physical limitations, time, money, etc. What are creative ways you can still operate in your character strengths and experience higher levels of satisfaction in the five areas of PERMA?
  5. I’m looking forward to hearing what you come up with. 


For Teachers: Change your Career and Your Life

I’ve been on both ends of the spectrum of teaching.

Image result for kids loved at home come to school to learn

At first, I hated it.  Was overwhelmed not only with the managing the logistics but my own fears of incompetency, fear of judgement, and loss of control of the classroom.  As it turned out, I relied on my child rearing models of crowd control.  Threats, manipulation, pleading, yelling, and shaming.  I did some damage, I hurt many a kid, and some responded with anger, others slinked away, and many grew to hate me and refused to learn. Not all of them.  The good students and I got along.  The challenging ones and I battled it out.

Fortunately, life has a way to teaching us what we need to learn.  About halfway through, I learned about Love and Logic. And then with time and more reading completely changed my beliefs, and then my practices, and then my habits.  I believe I ended on a high note. I learned to love the kids, even most of the challenging ones.  And even the hardest, I could hold space for them to be themselves, within healthy boundaries, and the lessons I learned myself, I passed on to the kids, like communication, appreciate, attitude, and so much more.

How different was it from the early to the later years?  Here is a clue.  In the earlier years, I never bought a year book.  I didn’t believe many students would have interest in leaving a sentiment, and fear several with markers to write hateful things.  In the last few years, not only did I buy year books, but students filled the pages with kind, fun and loving sentiments.

Must of what I learned can be summarized here and if it appeals to you, there is plenty of more information.

Brene Brown and “Daring Classrooms.” 

To really get into the info, explore her website with lots of resources for yourself and classroom.  Great books too.

You owe it to yourself to have the greatest career, to give yourself a break, learn what is really important, and revolutionize your classroom  Your are in a powerful position  to do either great good, or psychic trauma.  I’ve feel like I’ve done both.  Create a classroom, no matter the subject matter that kids want to go to, where they feel accepted, and even cherished, and learning will become easier for them and easier for you to teach.

Are their other resources.  Yes.  I’ve integrated Growth Mindset, and concepts from other positive psychology experts.  But Brene Brown is in my opinion is the best.





Connect at the Heart Level First

Brene Brown talks a lot about courage, vulnerability, fear, resilience and leadership. But we soo too many people who may be discouraged or hopeless that any effort on their part will make a difference. “Why bother”, which is just another way of saying it won’t matter anyway. Nothing will change, I’ll still be the same old so and so, an I’ll still be alone, ultimately unloved and unlovable. 
I know that feeling. I grew up questioning my worth. It appeared to me that I was just another mouth to feed, and that my existence added to the family’s hardship. I hustled for a way to make myself indispensable, and became quite the people pleaser, always ready to lend a hand, fix this, do that. To this day, at times, I struggle with the feeling that my value is what I do, not who I am. Old habits die hard.5a1c7f5bffbc430df856e25900f68b61
As a teacher, I learned late in my career the difference a caring teacher can make. “Love and Logic” introduced me to the idea that it is okay, even necessary to connect with the kids as human beings, as valuable in their own right, unique, talented, capable, lovable and worthy of the investment of our time as teachers. Love and Logic said “fall in love with your kids” and they will do work for you that they wouldn’t do for themselves.
I posted a sign where I could see it, “Kids don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care”. Over time, I hope they will have the inner strength and history of success if  provided some impetus from a caring adult.
I should have known. Left to my own devices as a teen and young adult, it was often a concerned friend, or my mom, though tired and struggling herself, saw in me something I couldn’t see. She encouraged me to do things, to try for something a little bigger or better. When I didn’t care, the fact that someone, my mom, a friend or caring adult, did care kept me going.
You often see articles where classrooms adopt an animal, and even dogs. Kids love dogs. And dogs love kids. I wonder if we could get some kind loving grandmotherly and grandfatherly types to volunteer in classrooms to be that adult that helps when needed, but mostly just provides unconditional love and caring and a reminder that kids are worth the effort. It would help the old timers know that they still matter, but just as importantly, that the kids matter.