About Wenna Doig
The content of this website is produced by Wenna Doig, who is a middle school teacher with 20 years of experience. She has been teaching stress and anxiety management strategies to students for the last 10 years. Wenna has 4 degrees, including undergraduate degrees in Theatre, Leisure Studies, and Education as well as a masters in Canadian Studies. She teaches student Art and is herself an artist (view some of her work at wenna.ca). It is her sincere hope that readers of this blog will be able to take away something to help kids manage their stress and anxiety.
A Message From Wenna
I have been teaching middle school for nearly 2 decades now, and in that time, I have seen a lot of change in how we, as a society view both stress and anxiety. When I was young, no one wanted to admit to being anxious. It was often seen as shameful, a character flaw, something to be whispered about rather than discussed openly like any other physical ailment.
I started working with kids in my school, helping them to develop strategies to manage both stress and anxiety almost 10 years ago. Initially, I had 5 students. We met in secret from the rest of the student body in an otherwise unused classroom. As with most secrets, word got out, and I gradually started taking on more kids. Right now I work with over 45 students (in small groups) at a time and meet with others on a less regular basis. As a school, we talk about stress. We share strategies. We are out of the closet, and enjoying the fresh air.
A few years ago, I realized that although my workshops were helpful while the kids were in them, the effectiveness often started to wear off once they finished a round. The strategies I use are simple to understand, but require practice and consistency to become part of a person’s regular life practice, and therefore useful in the short and long term. This led to 2 significant changes in my approach:
First, I started inviting parents in for a workshop once a term so they could see what we were doing together and learn a common vocabulary to cue their kids at home (dealing with consistency)
Secondly and more recently, I have used a more flexible ‘roll in and out as needed’ model. I have kids who have been with me for over 2 years (as opposed to the original 10 sessions). They help mentor the newer students and get regular reinforcement, which helps them internalize/normalize these strategies as just part of how they live.
My hope for this blog is that I can share in more detail, strategies, articles and any other resources in a simple central place, for any parents who are living with kids who are struggling.
Sources; Originally, I started doing stress management as part of the Friends for Life program.
Over time I have adapted what I do based on the individuals I work with, and the resulting group dynamics. Having read a lot of books on the subject, dealing with stress and anxiety in an up close and personal way, I find most programs/systems follow a similar structure. I am no exception.