As this unprecedented school year wraps up and we begin the uncomfortable wait to learn what the new school year holds, I have to pause a moment and reflect on what worked during COVID-19 Distance Learning and what didn’t. What I can take into a classroom if we get there in the fall and what …
We aren’t here to “break” anyone. Teachers are there to drop a line for students who want to share. For students who don’t, we help “make” them, listening for what they love and finding ways to nurture that. We give students opportunities to share themselves with others and plant the idea that they are people who matter to the class. This is so when those students are ready to heal, they already know there is someone inside of them worth leading out of the darkness.
Mindfulness asks students: How does your breath feel? Social-Emotional learning asks students to imagine how someone else feels. Compassion, Empathy, and Vulnerability asks students, “How do you feel?” Then the teacher listens, and goes to a place within themselves that says, “Yes. I have felt that way at some point, too. Let me sit with you while you feel that way now.” It asks teachers to courageously be vulnerable and talk about their imperfections and sadness too.
If a tree falls in the woods…no, wait. If a student experiences a traumatic event but no adult authority figure acknowledges it, does that event have devastating long-term affects? Always, the research says.