As Teacher Appreciation Week fast approaches, it's the perfect opportunity to put an intentional focus on appreciating the teachers and staff who make such a tremendous impact on the lives of students. The dedication, hard work, and compassion they demonstrate day in and day out is nothing short of remarkable. It's important to acknowledge their contributions and let them know they are valued and appreciated.
Skills like managing our emotions, developing healthy relationships, and setting goals are the foundational components that set up students to better learn more traditional academic content. Learning long division or writing a book report is nearly impossible for someone who can’t manage emotions or set goals, and we all know that students learn better when they have healthy relationships with their teachers and peers. A lot of people refer to social-emotional skills as “soft skills,” but I think they should instead be called “essential skills.” I often argue that they are as important as traditional academic content—if not more important.
As we strive to help students build mindsets to promote self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills, and responsible decision making, one of the most important skills students need to build is empathy. Empathy is the ability to understand someone else’s experience from their own perspective. This valuable skill set helps students learn to be more accepting and tolerant of different ideas and perspectives, while also driving students to become global citizens and change-makers.
With all that there is to do as an educator, it can be a challenge to keep up with professional development blogs, education news articles, and inspirational education content. Thankfully, with nearly any personal device, you have access to millions of podcasts right at your fingertips. Podcasts are a helpful way for busy educators to consume valuable information on the go––whether during your commute to school, as you travel between meetings, or while you’re on your lunch break.
The past two years have put more pressure on teachers than ever before, and educators have experienced so much––both personally and professionally. Teachers have been asked to take on expanded responsibilities during remote and hybrid learning, including creating curriculum, managing multiple classes, and supporting their students emotionally and academically. All these factors combined have had a negative impact on teacher wellbeing.
With teachers being asked to take on more responsibilities than they’ve ever handled before -- especially during remote and hybrid learning -- adult social and emotional learning and self-care have never been so important. As school principals and assistant principals, we believe administrators need to celebrate teachers’ successes, catch them when they fall and usher them through this time of great uncertainty.
With so many educators feeling overwhelmed and overworked, it’s important to find resources that can support self-care and cultivate wellbeing––both in school and at home. There are many great self-care books available to help guide educators to be courageous, take time for yourself, find happiness, and be more mindful. Because there are so many self-care books available for educators, we’ve created this list of some of the top-rated self-care books that teachers can benefit from reading.
COVID-19 has been challenging for educators, students, and schools not only in terms of academics, but also in terms of managing emotional wellbeing and positive mental health. Teachers in particular have had to juggle significantly increased stresses both professionally and personally––ensuring their students receive the academic and emotional support they need, while simultaneously managing their own families’ needs.
If the global pandemic and school shutdowns taught us anything, it’s that we may have been taking teacher-student and student-student connections for granted pre-COVID. After all, with most or all students experiencing in-classroom learning, bonds, connections, and relationships are just bound to happen naturally. Even with students “connecting” virtually during the pandemic, it quickly became clear that we needed to do more to cultivate connections both in the remote setting and–once it was safe–in the classroom. With social emotional learning (SEL) becoming an increasingly important focal point for many districts, it made sense for us to build up this aspect of our educational offering.
All teachers know that educational success comes from strong connections between themselves and their students. Thanks to an increased focus on social emotional learning, educators also realize that creating a safe, nurturing environment also means helping students recognize and manage their emotions; care for others; and, form positive relationships and make responsible decisions.