Thank you for visiting my website. I combine 23 years' of experience as an adult educator, trainer and writer with my studies in positive psychology and positive education to help people learn and apply simple interventions that enable them to thrive and flourish in all aspects of their lives. I especially enjoy helping people discover and use their character strengths.
Well-being @ Work has two meanings - the first being that it is a process to maintain our health and well-being. The other meaning has to do with the actual work we do and how we find ways to increase our meaning, purpose and well-being even in stressful work environments.
My educational background includes a Master of Education, a Master of Arts, and Certificates in Positive Psychology and Positive Education from Wilfred Laurier University. I've completed SMART: Stress Management and Resiliency Techniques - a mindfulness program for educators developed by UBC and in the process of becoming a certified mindfulness facilitator. I've completed Compassion Fatigue 101 training offered by the TEND Academy and will continue to learn how compassion fatigue and vicarious/secondary trauma affects caring professionals.
My experience with professional burn-out in 2015 led me to reflect on my own lack of self-care and adopt positive psychology interventions which I now share locally and internationally.
Please contact me at [email protected] to discuss custom-designed workshops and/or presentations.
My book is out!
It was difficult to share my personal story of burn-out but my goal is to help as many teachers as possible avoid it. Thank you to all of the teachers who shared their stories of self-care and to those who provided a review.
"You cannot serve from an empty vessel". Eleanor BrownnOrder your copy here!
Watch my video which is part of the Day of Teacher Self-care - November 1 sponsored by the Teacher Self-Care Conference.
Services range from keynotes, conference presentations and custom-designed workshops.
I left classroom teaching due to professional burn-out in 2015 due to a lack of self-care. Teachers need to put themselves first and adopt self-care strategies to reduce stress, build resilience, promote physical health and increase well-being. TESL Ontario PD hours awarded for workshops and presentations in Ontario.
G.R.O.W. for Well-being presentations can be designed for students of all ages. Students learn how gratitude, resilience, optimism and willpower can be cultivated to help them get through challenges. If you are a teacher, I have also developed an online course - Ready, Set, GROW! in partnership with Teacher Professional Development (Australia).
Did you know that 50% of our happiness is determined by our genes and 10% by our environment but that 40% is determined by our actions? The science of positive psychology provides hundreds of simple interventions that can increase our happiness and well-being. Participants will leave this workshop with an understanding of the relationship between teacher happiness and positive professional outcomes; learn interventions that are evidence-based which can increase employee engagement, understand how meaning and purpose contribute to happiness at work, understand the importance of relationships at work which can lead to happier teachers; and leave with a personal list of simple actions to increase well-being.
"In this invaluable book, Patrice shares her own highly relatable experience of burnout, and puts together a short, easily assimilated guide to teacher self care. The book contains a host of practical tips, looking both at what schools can do and how teachers can look after themselves better physically, and make vital changes to their mindset. The book concludes with book-club discussion questions, and it would make an excellent choice to read and discuss with colleagues. All teachers and managers of teachers should read this. "
"Patrice Palmer’s Teacher Self-Care Manual is a great resource for all educators. She did an amazing job interweaving her personal journey in education with relevant research in the field of positive psychology. In addition, this book gives actionable ideas, strategies and exercises, as well as, reflective questioning that will help teachers navigate aspects of the profession that can lead to burnout. Her message that teachers need to make themselves a priority and practice self-care is one that needs to be heard. "
"This practical self-care guide is a wonderful and much-needed resource for teachers, as it is full of useful strategies that are very straightforward to implement. An added strength is that Patrice is speaking from the heart and from personal experience - her honest and open account of her own burnout as a teacher really resonated with me and reinforced the message of how vital it is for educators to prioritise self-care. This guide is the perfect balance of research and practical strategies. Patrice advocates raising our self-awareness of our levels of self-care and finding ways that work for us on an individual basis. I particularly enjoyed the section in which Patrice outlined her new key mindsets, especially ‘I Matter! and ‘Guilt Be Gone! Packed full of evidence-based strategies from the field of Positive Psychology, yet concise enough for any busy teacher to engage with, this self-care manual is a must-read for educators. It’s a very enjoyable and fascinating insight into teacher well-being and I have benefitted so much from it on a personal and professional level."
"Compelling and practical, Patrice provides teachers with actionable self-care strategies for right now, no matter how busy or overwhelmed you might be. Giving yourself permission is the hard part. Consider this your permission! Once you do, it only gets easier create time for yourself so you’re a happier, healthier, and more engaging teacher."
"Patrice Teacher Self Care Manual provides educators with a “how to” for making self care a priority and a part of everyday life. “.... that I matter and taking care of myself is a priority”. Her book reminds us of the importance of self care for educators. She shares an honest and reflective account of her own journey of self care. As an educator, The Self Care Manual provides an easy to follow manual, real life practices that do no ads to an already full workload. I look forward to using and sharing the information from Patrice’s book. "
"It's clear that educator burnout is increasing in prevalence. It was with great excitement that I opened the Teacher Self-Care Manual by Patrice Palmer and my excitement continued as I read the book in one sitting! Patrice has direct experience of the joys and challenges of teaching, of getting to a point where the joys had been replaced by a sense of hopelessness and then she found her way back. This book is practical, to the point, easy to read and full of ways that anyone - not just teachers - can re-evaluate their life balance and manage their day to day wellbeing. Great job Patrice! "
"A book that will appeal to the academic in every teacher, The Teacher Self-Care Manual is a concise part-objective, part-personal book that is written from both the head and heart. Patrice has been stressed out, and she is not afraid to share her experiences with the reader. But her book goes deeper than a flat stone skipping across the ocean of a topic; rather, Palmer incorporates the research that supports her claims. By taking the occupation of teacher in context with other stress-inducing roles, she gives a compassionate understanding of the forces at play, and uses imagery and her research on positive psychology to offer hope to burned-out teachers. Sprinkled throughout Palmer’s writing are categorized checklists and online resources to help one not only confidentially self-assess, but also to chart one’s path toward a positive mindset. Palmer’s book is packed with practical suggestions (like, how to actually say “no”) and interesting facts (like, the importance of giving your voice a rest!) Always thinking of teachers, Palmer even offers a lesson plan you can use with your students to help them understand the strengths of their character even as you work through appreciating your own character strengths. Patrice has written a book that merits reading by all teachers (ESL, classroom, online, college, etc.) When I finished reading the book, I felt satisfied and understood. I also had a perspective check and a path to move forward. That is good for me, and that is also good for my students."
Only 13% of Canadians report that they feel engaged at work and 50% report being unhappy in their jobs (Hays, 2016). This needs to change since we spend approximately 90,000 hours at work during our lifetime!
Studies show that happiness increases every positive business outcome. Happy employees are more productive and creative, take fewer sick days and experience less burn-out. The science of positive psychology provides many simple (and free!) evidence-based interventions that can help people feel more engaged at work, discover more meaning and purpose, assess and use their character strengths and increase their well-being.
As a former international development worker, I understand how this work can take a toll on one’s emotional well-being. Compassion fatigue is an occupational hazard which means that almost everyone who cares about the people they serve will eventually develop it to varying degrees. Unfortunately, many of us are not equipped to deal with the traumatic nature of the work we do.
Our 24 character strengths (like leadership, teamwork, curiosity, love of learning, zest, judgement, kindness, humour to name a few) make us unique just like finger prints. When we use our character strengths, we feel more engaged and have a better understanding of others and feel happier. Workshops have been given at The YWCA and Career Development Centre, City of Hamilton.
"Patrice gave an outstanding presentation on workplace happiness at the Rotary Club of Stoney Creek. It was informative and she was very engaging with the audience. I would love the opportunity to hear Patrice speak again and would recommend others attend her events. Thank you!"
"Patrice is flexible and a pleasure to work with. She has a good working knowledge of Growth Mindset and knows how to get people thinking about it and applying it in their work."
"The Characters Strengths workshop provided by Patrice to business program participants covered a lot of information, delivered in concise chunks that was easy to absorb. Patrice's structure was clear, logical and effective. The main benefits for the participants came from doing the character strengths survey. The training helped the participants to understand their strengths, relate them with their business vision, and develop their confidence to their entrepreneurial vision."
"I would like to thank you for your inspiring speech at the North York TESL Conference. I was picturing myself listening to your journey; going through separation and divorce, dealing with a child’s health issues while trying hard to support our students both in language proficiency and their emotional crises. It was a pleasure to meet you. "
"Patrice is a very warm and engaging presenter. Patrice had a really matter of fact, practical message for teachers, without too much "new age" stuff. It was a perfect way to end the conference for me!" "
"Thank you for presenting and sharing personal insights regarding character strengths and how they shape our behaviour. This workshop gave participants the tools to better identify their top character strengths and ways to use them to reach career and life goals."
"Patrice's passion for learning positive psychology stood out in the Positive Psychology certificate program. She articulated the learning and applied the concepts skillfully throughout the session. I was deeply moved by her willingness to make a difference in her work, family and community by her curiosity to explore ways in which she could apply concepts to find positive ways to learn and grow. I highly recommend Patrice."
"There were a lot of good take away messages from this session. It's a very, very important topic! It's good to be aware of this at the beginning of my career, so I can help prevent burnout/exhaustion in myself. An Amazing and very informative session! "
"It was a great presentation. Patrice used relevant examples and it was very helpful to hear her personal story. Often schools do not provide adequate resources for self-care."
"The ORTESOL board hired Patrice to give our Keynote talk and we were not disappointed! At a time when programs and teachers are stressed, Patrice offered many valuable insights about work-life balance and ways that we could reasonably manage our relationship with our work. There are very few fields where people identify so deeply with their work and Patrice found a way to speak to our needs for self-care! Thank you for your great talk!"
"Patrice was one of the best TESL methodology trainers that we were fortunate to have for several years. More recently, I must thank and recommend Patrice for her guest speaker sessions on teacher wellness for our TESL trainees. Our student teachers have greatly benefited from her engaging presentations, subject matter expertise, vast experience, and genuine care to help others in our profession. Thank you Patrice for visiting our classroom and inspiring our student teachers. Your support and contribution in TESL training is highly valued and so very much appreciated."
"Patrice was my excellent TESL instructor at Canadian College of Educators in 2008. Throughout the years, I have followed her path as she presented at TESL Conferences, and provided professional development. More recently, she presented her book on Teacher Self Care. As I was reading her book, I was struck with how intimately well she knew the path that we, as ESL instructors, were on. Her book is not only full of acknowledgement of our challenges, but also full of strategies for managing work in the 21st century, specifically that of being an ESL Instructor, but for all who are working independently on a contract by contract basis. I believe that all teachers and those wanting to be a teacher should read her book. Patrice is one of the sparks that lit the passion for me and many a teacher. Thank you for your continued guidance."
I love to write about how we can apply the science of positive psychology to all aspects of our life to increase our happiness and well-being.
We possess all 24 character strengths (like honesty, humour, kindness, teamwork, judgement, zest, hope, love, leadership) in different degrees, giving each of us a unique profile just like fingerprints! Using our character strengths can increase our overall well-being so find ways to use them every day. It takes just 15 minutes to learn about your strengths. My top strengths or signature strengths: 1) Appreciation of Beauty and Excellence 2) Creativity 3) Curiosity 4) Gratitude 5) Love of Learning