Instructor Guide - Notes for Teachers/Instructors

“No bird soars too high if he soars on his own wings.” William Blake

As you will discover, the fundamental belief of PSN is that we are interdependent. 

The overarching goals and objectives for trainers are to have participants recognize that they matter to family, friends and others within their sphere of influence, and to also help each learner to recognize that others matter to them. PSN is an active demonstration of "I matter and others matter to me". Throughout the courseware, this becomes a powerful theme behind the work to develop a robust and successful PSN.

Participants will also realize that with their PSN complete, they will have the dynamics in place to be far more resilient than they were when the course began, regardless of the life events. They'll achieve an enhanced state of well-being and sense of security with a PSN in place. They will be prepared for real life and all its expected and unexpected, planned and unplanned events knowing they don't have to navigate their circumstances alone. And, too, learners will be equipped with the knowledge of the skills they'll need to have and use to develop and implement their PSN with success.

In addition to the PSN values of "I matter and others matter to me", and enabling PSN users to attain an enhanced resilience', PSN illuminates throughout the coursework the value of each of us when we're part of a meaningful and purposeful team. While there are many who espouse 'independence' as a valued character trait, the reality is that little good comes from priding oneself on going it alone or believing that we have. As your learners will realize, team is a combination of people serving people in varied roles, seen and unseen. Unseen or simply not thought of in the context of 'team' may be the mortgage lender on a home or the owner of an apartment building. Or, the mechanics that keep our vehicles running. And, consider the many service agencies prepared to render services to those in need. An education takes a team of educators in various capacities to prepare a student for a career. A PSN, however, is a thoughtful collection of identified, meaningful and supportive people who are there for us and, in turn, we have committed to being there for them. It's a team of valued family and/or friends (not Facebook friends) or service providers with whom we can depend upon when life happens – the seen and unseen. These teachers will come from various aspects of life, offering support for Eight Pillars of Resilience.

While building a PSN team doesn't prevent life from happening, it does, however, provide the learner with the ability to bounce back faster and with greater ease – build resilience to a new and higher level. When discussing resilience with learners, it's multifaceted. When the unexpected, unplanned event of magnitude or crisis occurs, there are typically three, oftentimes four, resilient needs of support that follow. There are physical, emotional, mental, and, in some cases, resource needs that may include service agencies designed to provide assistance. One's team should, ideally, include team members with knowledge or know how in each of these support areas. Expecting one person to be the support in all areas may work in the immediate but seldom works over days, weeks and perhaps months. One person is usually not skilled to render support in all areas. Success is having the right people perform the right functions and tasks and that they can manage them.

Exercise

1. Identify life events, those of magnitude or crisis and those that may occur routinely to which a PSN would bring value.
2. Identify situations where a team is more productive and efficient compared to going it alone.
3. Identify some scenarios in which you can imagine becoming an added value team member to a family or friend in their PSN?

8 PSN Pillars

A robust PSN has 8 Pillars or elements to it. Visualize a fireman’s safety net with 8 people holding it up to ensure the safety of someone leaping from a building. Fewer than eight may not be strong enough to support the individual when they land in it. The PSN founders, Judy Pigott and Dr. John W. Gibson, during the development of phase of PSN looked at PSN in terms of strength and effectiveness. The 8 Pillars of a PSN are included in the chapters of the PSN workbook and on the website. They are: 1. Knowledge or Intellect; 2. Belief System; 3. Career and Retirement; 4. Family and Friends; 5. Community and its Resources; 6. Finances and Legalities; 7. Health and Wellness; 8. Possessions. These are the foundational pillars that hold up a highly functional and resilient PSN.  The relevance of each is covered in detail in your curriculum. In all areas, learning to effectively ask for and graciously receive assistance is important.

Why A Workshop with an Instructor?

At first glance, one might conclude that no instructor is needed. For some, that may be the case but for most it's a challenge to identify the team members, their area of contribution, how to invite or ask team members to participate, assistance in moving beyond 'getting stuck' in one or more sections of the workbook or what to do when a prospective PSN team member declines to participate or identifying the resources available to those in need. An instructor educates, informs and coaches the learner through the development process, answers their questions and addresses any concerns or challenges.

The overarching role of the instructor is to enable learners to connect, become informed and to inspire each learner with the resilience that will serve them throughout their life.

What Does Success Look Like for the Instructor and the Learner?

Instructor: Success for instructors is when learners begin to articulate the value of a PSN in their lives and in the lives of those they love and care about. Instructors hear learners describe benefits in terms of resilience, sense of security from knowing they matter to their team. Instructors will also experience learners expressing their willingness to not only receive help but offer help to others – demonstrating that others matter to them & that they increase their ease with asking, declining, modifying, accepting, reciprocating or paying forward. Instructors will also assist learners in envisioning their desired outcomes before identifying & approaching the appropriate team to achieve the envisioned outcomes.

Learners: Success for learners is recognizing that they do matter and others matter to them. Putting this philosophical belief into pragmatic terms is important. Learners will achieve a renewed sense of well-being and a sense of security realizing they need not go through life and its challenges alone. They, too, will be prepared in the event of disruptions, proacting not reacting. For many, they will learn to ask for support and help and be resilient if the answer is no. They will discover they can be a significant contributor in another's PSN – demonstrating to loved ones and those they care about how much they matter to the learner. Learners learn how to envision outcomes and receive assistance in how to identify the right PSN team for the event.

Areas Learners Will Need Instructor Coaching

  • Dispelling the myth that Facebook friends will be there for us in a time of need - thinking through FB use and misuse.
  • Understanding when trust is vital – who to trust for what task or function.
  • Clarifying roles and responsibilities – what’s acceptable and what is not.
  • Asking for help.
  • Accepting no and not personalizing.
  • Developing meaningful relationships to support their PSN.
  • Understanding the use of some necessary skill sets.
  • Sustaining a positive, optimistic vision of good outcomes.
  • Compassion demonstrated through willingness to help and actions.
  • Envisioning outcomes first.          

Important Note: PSN does not recommend learners complete the sections asking for confidential information during class. Confidential data such as date of birth, social security and insurance ID numbers should be kept in a secure location and revealed only to a highly trustworthy individual(s).

Mistakes to Avoid

  • Instructors failing to complete the PSN workbook prior to first class.
  • Allowing one learner to take up a lot of time with anecdotes and personal stories.
  • Observing learners who get stuck in a section and not offering assistance or clarification.
  • Neglecting to display compassion and empathy for those struggling.
  • Failing to inspire with the message that we all matter, and others matter to us.
  • Neglecting to reinforce the importance of resilience and its correlation to our quality of life and our well-being.

You Are Ready to Get Started Teaching!

Supplies you will need

Please check all exercises in your curriculum for items you may want or need to complete the exercises.

  • PSN book for each participant, ordered from the PSN website.
  • Packets of Wallet Cards, ordered from the PSN website.
  • Marker board, chalk board or large flip chart and easel.
  • Appropriate writing tools for your choice above. If using a marker board or chalk board, you’ll need an eraser.
  • 2 scarves or bandanas and a small stuffed animal or unbreakable small item.
  • 8 standard pencils.
  • There's NO Such Thing as a Dragon, a read-aloud book by Jack Kent.

Download the curriculum, section by section. You may want to print hard copies for class in case the electronic device you’re using fails to work. You may want to ask participants to bring their own laptops.

Teaching the 3 Calls to Action

In addition to the curriculum provided, PSN has an additional teaching option. On the PSN home page are 3 "Calls to Action":

  1. Build Resilience
  2. Ask for Help
  3. Learn Strengths

If you wish, you an teach these subjects as separate topics. Each of the actions is easy to teach. They can be used separately and in-depth, or they can be used in conjunction with an agenda you wish to create.  It's also possible to use these as background support for using the time-based agendas that have been provided. You will find that each "call to action" includes the requisite skills required to acquire and become proficient.

Learners will learn to think in terms skills needed when seeking to build healthier, more productive relationships with others or commit to self-improvement. All "calls to action" are integral to building a robust and thriving PSN.

Each action has a description of its importance and the critical skills needed; the steps to acquire each skill and the mistakes to avoid. Consider following the script with the class and allowing time for discussion. Adjust as needed and appropriate for your particular population.