Project 11 teachers’ commitment not confined to the classroomSeptember 30, 2020 10:00 am
The benefits of Project 11’s mental wellness education would not be realized without the commitment of teachers. The important messages of mental wellness, healthy relationships, and self-awareness simply wouldn’t be delivered to youth on the scale that they are today if not for the over 2,220 teachers in Manitoba who are dedicated to sharing these lessons with students across the province.
Teachers have not only shown commitment to Project 11 by bringing the program to their classroom though. Many teachers have also demonstrated their support and commitment by helping to develop the very lessons they teach through curriculum planning or in creating materials such as videos, lessons, and activities.
For Marc Gaudet, a high school phys. ed. teacher at MacGregor Collegiate, and Pierre Bohemier, a Grade 4 and 5 teacher at École Robert Browning School, the opportunity to get involved with the Project 11 program came in the form of being featured in the Grade 7 and 8 French video lessons.
Neither hesitated to jump at the chance to contribute to the curriculum.
Bohemier has already seen the direct effects of the program in his own classroom and participating in the videos was a no-brainer for him.
“Getting the chance to be a part of this very important and worthwhile program by volunteering my time and talents this summer was a wonderful opportunity to give back and show my gratitude to all of the people involved in putting Project 11 together for our youth, teachers, and parents,” said Bohemier. “Having participated in the Project 11 program for the past few years with my class, I know first-hand how effective and engaging this program is in addressing mental wellness and giving the opportunity for my students and me to explore this very important part of their overall make-up as special and unique people.”
Being a high school teacher, Gaudet looks forward to being part of the senior years pilot program this school year. Having seen his own children go through the lessons, Gaudet is eager to get P11 on the ground in his classroom and was equally excited to contribute to the lesson videos.
“Our principal and I had been talking since before COVID about putting mental health at the forefront of our physical education and health curriculum,” said Gaudet. “I had reached out and P11’s Director of Educational Programs, Suzi Friesen, offered to have me help work on the Grades 9 to 12 curriculum. From there, she asked if I would help with the Grade 7 and 8 video lessons, which were a lot of fun to be a part of. I was so impressed with the organization and how welcoming everybody was, from the Project 11 team to the video team.”
The pair of teachers shot a total of 60 lessons for the new French Grades 5 to 8 program and covered a variety of topics from stress relief to self-confidence, breathing techniques, and more.
The messaging and lessons being delivered weren’t the only aspects of the videos that were so impactful for Bohemier and Gaudet – the fact that they were presenting it all in French is also significant. In their eyes, providing Project 11 in English and French is a testament to how much the P11 team believes in their program, and how important they feel it is for all students in Manitoba to be educated on mental wellness.
“The gift that we are giving the kids and teachers to express their thoughts and feelings in both languages while going through the various lessons at school is so worthwhile,” said Bohemier. “The opportunities for francophone and French immersion teachers to work through the mental wellness vocabulary and activities en français with their students is ensuring that we are including as many students and teachers as possible in order to address their mental health.”
That commitment by the Project 11 team – not just in providing French programming, but in how they run every facet of the program – shows that the Project 11 team doesn’t just preach the message of being supportive to each other. By continuing to enhance and expand programming and supporting teachers through every step of the program with materials like the videos that Bohemier and Gaudet participated in, the Project 11 team lives by the lessons they teach.
Undoubtedly, that’s at the core of why teachers are so committed in return, and willing to give their time to create materials for Project 11.
“You see the care of the people who are working with Project 11,” Gaudet noted of his interactions with the Project 11 team in shooting the educational videos. “It’s huge for the teachers to have that extra support.”