I have been working with an amazing group of aspiring principals in New Orleans this past week. They are enrolled in a leadership program, the Summer Principals Academy at Columbia University, which incorporates emotional intelligence (EQ) training and a daily guided mindfulness practice. We have been learning how to use our emotions to know ourselves better, establish positive relationships and lead schools wholeheartedly. Witnessing their growth and “aha” moments is one of the most rewarding parts of my job.
In an earlier post, I discussed findings of a research study that followed a group of principals in an urban school district in California for one school year. Although these two groups of principals are quite different, the experiences they had learning and practicing emotional intelligence are quite similar: they both identified EQ as essential to achieving wellbeing and placed a high value on using emotions to connect with others. One of the principals in New Orleans wrote:
“Emotion is a building block of understanding”
Let’s reflect – What would happen at your school, in your classroom and in your heart if you embraced this belief? What difference would it make in the world?
The development of social and emotional competencies is an important component in the preparation of effective and resilient school leaders. Fortunately, there are leadership programs, such as the one at Columbia University, where aspiring principals learn and practice these skills before they are in schools. Unfortunately, this program is the exception, not the norm. What would it take to incorporate these necessary skills in the preparation and development of school principals? If you have some ideas, please get in touch. I’d love to hear from you.
Hope you all enjoy a restful summer.
P.S. I’ll be back in August with new articles to support your SEL work in schools.