Adults who work with children are generally perceived to be warm, nurturing, and tend to usually be great with children. They spend countless hours outside the classroom working, and their summers taking professional development classes that are required of their school districts. So, I find it not that surprising when their response when a teacher is told that they have to incorporate social emotional learning into their already deeply henvy shoulders.
Teachers feel like they are taxed with so many requirements and pressured requests by admin, all hoping to generate scores and growth down the line. The beauty of social emotional learning is that if you are already teaching well, to be fit your children in a way that encompasses their emotions and their mind, you are already doing it. In fact, if you alter your perception in that it something that you as a classroom or family can engage in and not you as the adult is responsible for, it can be life altering.
Think of all the times students come up to you as a teacher or parent with faces of defeat or frustration, it all begins with a single emotion. They may not be able to recognize or identify what it is that they are feeling, but their body is wearing how they are feeling. Their shoulders are shrugged, their body antsy as they learn something new, or their face is ridden with defeat. these are not the faces we as parents or teachers want to see time and time again.we want them to feel empowered, strong, and happy to take on the world. So what do we do? How to do we help our children without doing it solely on our shoulders?
There are several things you can do to help your child figure out what they are struggling with, but my go-to suggestion is for them to be an emotional detective. If it is, then there is an issue or issues that they are struggling with, and encouraging them to sleuth it out, gives them the chance to not only decipher what it is that they are feeling, but to connect with the reasons behind it. Emotional detectives are easily to implement both at home, and I’m the classroom, and it allows children to strengthen being able to pinpoint how their emotions are connected to their learning both in and outside the classroom, which is something we all want for ourselves as well, right?
I am not a doctor. It sounds like an infomercial that you hear around 2 am when you can’t sleep blasting from the t.v., right? What I do have is eleven years of teaching under my belt in some of the lowest neighborhoods where most of the parents barely graduated high school, residencies for my counseling degree at a residential treatment center where girls had been in the foster system for most of their life, and working as a school counselor in a variety of settings.
Think of the fairy tales you read as a child, none of them spoke of a magic formula where everything you ever wanted came true just because you did something you were told to. Fairy tales happened because of what the character, usually an adorable girl with pig tales or a handsome young chap with an earnest desire to explore, did something about. They made it happen, mistakes and all. Shouldn’t children have that same opportunity?
Sometimes it’s all about working with what the child or learner brings to the classroom. Sometimes you have the unwillingness learners, the ones that are sleepy, almost zombie like, like this kiddo I observed last week.
He was sluggish, and unmotivated, but given the appropriate content, I knew I could capture his attention. With those types of learners, I work with what he is interested in learning on his own. Using the wiggle seat gave him a constant ripple of motions that sparked his body to engage physically, and working on something he liked the first thing in the morning, made his brain engage mentally. Connecting the brain and body made his learning relevant, which in turn, helped him take an active role in his learning.
Like I said, I’m not a doctor, but aren’t these simple adjustments with working with our children something we can all do? I am all about magic and children, I just feel that they should be in charge of their own destiny .
It is that time where we are at the end of one year, and the beginning of another. For children and adults, our minds fill with worry and anticipation of what lies ahead beyond… all that the new year will bring us, both known and unknown.
What is known for a child is often what is familiar, their daily routines and things that are familiar for them: how and where they study and relax. Often a change in these routines, like the start of a new year and talk of new goals, brings anxiety. Picture a wave rushing over you that instantly beckons the tells of worry: sweaty palms, the hair on the back of your neck standing up and your stomach twisting and turning. We cannot change what we do not know, but we can adjust on how we react.
But we think about R-E-A-C-T differently in my first grade classroom.
R= recognizing why your upset
E = identifying your emotional response to the issue
A= actively check out on thinking about it ( we use yoga in my room)
C= what or how will you change
T= take charge of how you can make it better
Because at the end of every day, how we REACT to change makes all the difference, both good and bad.