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Posts tagged ‘Emotions’

Let It Be

Emotions are an important part of being human. We don’t want to ignore or suppress them because they provide valuable data about what is happening inside ourselves and the world around us. Yes, I know, I have said this before. However, with the holidays around the corner, there is this notion that we must feel a certain way… mostly happy, joyful and excited. Well, what if that’s not the case for you or your students?

Sharon Salzberg, world-renowned meditation teacher and New York Times bestselling author, explains how we are conditioned to believe that painful feelings are “bad”, and pleasurable ones are “good.” For many people, it’s often easier to avoid grief and sorrow, while only embracing pleasant sensations like confidence or love. A solely focus on pleasurable emotions can negatively impact students’ healthy development.

Social Emotional Learning means developing students’ and adults’ capacity to accept and learn to embrace all of their emotions, including the unpleasant ones, so they can experience a more enduring sense of happiness and life satisfaction. Even during the holidays. Especially during the holidays.

Educators have a critical role understanding what kinds of emotions students experience in the classroom, how they differ among students, and how they influence their engagement and performance. However, the teacher’s job is not to make students feel happy at all times, but to create the conditions where students can recognize and manage their emotions in constructive ways. It is better for students to learn how to cope with disappointment and failure from a caring teacher, than to have no tools to deal with these feelings. Ready or not, feelings are coming our way.

As you start the holiday celebrations, allow yourself and your students to acknowledge and appreciate whatever feelings this time of year brings. If it is sadness, grief or anger, approach it with compassion. And just let it be.

Wishing you a peaceful holiday season and a New Year filled with purpose.

Reference: Salzberg, S. (2017). Real Love. The Art of Mindful Connection. New York, NY: Flatiron Books.

Developing Principals’ Emotional Intelligence

When you think of the best principal you’ve had in your teaching career, what comes to mind? You might describe someone who is calm, even when faced with high levels of stress, and encouraging of your work. This person might have great relationships with staff and an open door policy, while keeping high expectations for their work. Or maybe this person is able to pause and consider all the facts and emotions involved, before making a decision. These are competencies of someone who has a good dose of emotional intelligence (EQ). Read more

3 Key Lessons on Empathy

I did the last internship for my teaching credential in a rural town in Nicaragua, volunteering at a local NGO – Los Pipitos – that supported children with disabilities. During my time there, I worked alongside a promotora de salud (community health professional), Martha; the most patient human being I have ever met, I learned everything I know about empathy from her. Read more

Focus on Yourself to Nurture Positive Relationships

The relationships that children and youth establish with adults are critical for a healthy social and emotional development. When students and teachers establish positive, caring relationships, students are more likely to use their teachers as resource to solve problems, engage in learning activities, and better navigate the demands of school (Williford & Sanger Wolcott, 2015). Researchers have found that high-quality relationships between students and teachers are linked with students’ academic and social-emotional outcomes. Read more

Ready for School?

A few weeks back, I registered my daughter for kindergarten in the local school district. It was a moment filled with different emotions: excitement for the new experiences she will have, worry for the challenges, and also a bit of sadness because she is no longer my little “baby”. A moment of true self-awareness! Read more

Getting Your Principal to Support SEL

Last week, I got a message from an elementary school teacher in New Jersey. Maria integrates Social Emotional Learning in her 2nd grade class and has observed significant changes in her students’ ability to express emotions and solve conflicts independently. In her message, she expressed some frustration because the principal, although supportive of her work, doesn’t want to allocate any resources to implement SEL across classrooms. Read more

3 Strategies to Navigate Emotions

I recently met with a fantastic group of principals. Two weeks into the new school year and they were already discussing serious issues taking place at their schools. You could almost touch the tension in the room. We started the meeting with a simple breathing exercise, so we could all (including myself!) get our minds ready to engage and participate in meaningful ways. Learning ways to navigate emotions and deal with the stress of daily life is a major goal in Social Emotional Learning that applies to both students and adults. Read more

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