Not To Be Trusted With Knives

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You were in my class. I was your teacher.

Yesterday was the first day of my course for this term! So exciting!  Now, I know that as a general rule I don’t talk about my work here in the old blogosphere – what happens in Dr. Beth’s classroom stays in Dr. Beth’s classroom and all – but I have to say that I love teaching. I love being on campus, I love thinking about the best way to design my course to achieve the learning objectives set out for the course and the best ways to teach different concepts and skills.  I love to watch students learn something and be able to apply it. I love to see them get excited about what they are learning and go above and beyond what’s required for class because they are so engaged with the material.  I love to learn new things from my students – and I always learn new things from my students!

Almost completely unrelated to the above, here’s a photo of me next to an overhead projector that was in my classroom:

Day 80

For the record, I do not actually use an overhead projector. I just find it amusing that we still have these things, with their rolled up supply of acetate, in our classrooms, given that it is 2010 and all. I mean, the classroom has a built in computer and projector and half the class has laptops with them.

Being the nosy person that I am, I decided to investigate who had last used this overhead.  I’m sorry to tell you this, Dr. Dan, but it’s one of your brethren – a stats prof:

Stats Overhead

Even less related is this:

I always think about that commercial at the beginning of every school year and Airdrie mentioned it on Facebook today, so I couldn’t resist watching the video of it on YouTube.

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World Suicide Prevention Day

Today is World Suicide Prevention Day.  Did you know that every year, one million people commit suicide and many more attempt suicide? This year, a friend of mine was one of those one million people who took their own life, so when I heard that today was World Suicide Prevention Day, I wanted to help spread the word.

I checked out the International Association for Suicide Prevention’s (IASP) website to prepare this posting. They note that while the “World Health Organization (WHO) has noted that not all suicides can be prevented, […] a majority can” and that:

Successful approaches to suicide prevention have included:

  • restricting access to means;
  • establishing community prevention programs;
  • establishing guidelines for media reporting;
  • engaging with frontline professionals through gate keeper training programs.

Like other mental health issues, people tend not to talk about suicide. I think it’s time we change that.

What Can You Do?

  • Learn what the warning signs of suicide are and what to do if you see them
    • According to the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA), “some warning signs that a person may be suicidal include:
      • repeated expressions of hopelessness, helplessness, or desperation,
      • behaviour that is out of character, such as recklessness in someone who is normally careful,
      • signs of depression – sleeplessness, social withdrawal, loss of appetite, loss of interest in usual activities, a sudden and unexpected change to a cheerful attitude,
      • giving away prized possessions to friends and family,
      • making a will, taking out insurance, or other preparations for death, such as telling final wishes to someone close,
      • making remarks related to death and dying, or an expressed intent to commit suicide. An expressed intent to commit suicide should always be taken very seriously.
  • If you see some of these warning signs and are concerned that the person is considering suicide – or if you yourself are feeling suicidal – it is important to take action. The CMHA’s webpage on preventing suicide has some really good advice on what to do – I suggest you check it out.
  • Let politicians know that here in Canada, we need a national suicide prevention strategy. According to the Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention: “In spite of the recommendation of both the WHO and U.N., Canada remains one of the few industrialized and G8 countries that still has no national suicide prevention strategy.” Call or write your MP and sign the petition.

A few resources: