Caring for yourself before you can care for others“SEL is important for educators, too. Many of us are struggling right now and we can’t take care of students without taking care of ourselves first.”
When students switched to remote learning, many students felt significant strain, loneliness, disengagement, and frustration. The educators we spoke with discussed the need to have multiple, ongoing conversations with each student, even if that conversation wasn’t directly related to the content.
They discussed the importance of getting students to go deeper in their thinking and sharing and asking students to tell stories. Young people had a lot of stories to tell about their distance learning experiences, which made for rich writing prompts. Many teachers also shared stories about how they’ve been able to integrate mindfulness and other practices that encourage healthy social and emotional skills, including routines and rituals for students to share their emotions and academic assignments that connect to their emotions.
The social and emotional health of staff is also critical piece of the puzzle. The additional stresses of transitioning to an entirely new platform for teaching alongside managing their own personal stresses while starting a new school year can become overwhelming. Administrators face considerable pressure as they lead an entire school community into unchartered territory. Ensuring that a plan is in place for supporting the overall school community is key.
- How can we support the social-emotional well-being of the adults in our community? How can adults model social-emotional competencies for students?
- How can we foster the development of our students’ SEL skills, such as self-awareness, self-management, responsible decision making, social awareness, and building relationships?
- How can we measure our students’ SEL skills and competencies?
Professional Development Connections
- Professional development on adult self-care includes consistent modeling. For example, open all meetings with self-care techniques and encourage teachers to try them with students and in their teacher teams.
- When staff receive proper training and support, an advisory system is one of the most important spaces for fostering and reinforcing student SEL skills. Consider adopting and providing professional development on an SEL web-based program such as Second Step, which can be integrated into advisory or elsewhere.
- Provide professional development on topics such as promoting a growth mindset, mindfulness in the classroom and creating clear, consistent procedures and routines that help all young people feel safe.
|High-leverage Strategies||Aligned Resources|
Faculty and Staff Well-Being
Make SEL and well-being for staff a top priority. Keep teachers from becoming isolated. Priorities include:
(SEL for Adults: Social Awareness and Relationship Skills, Greater Good Education)
This Self-Care for Teachers handout can help staff incorporate these practices into day-to-day routines (Stop, Breathe & Think PBC).
This Personal Assessment and Reflection tool provides a framework and process for staff to reflect on their own social and emotional growth (CASEL).
Support teacher teams to collaborate on integrating daily SEL practices into their classes.
The My Feelings Reflection form is a ready-to-use Google doc for students to record daily reflections each week (Sown to Grown).
CASEL resources cover key ways to integrate SEL to reach all students:
SEL 3 Signature Practices Playbook provides more details on key strategies that enhance SEL skills:
Remote Learning Free SEL Resources offers a range of free resources for building students’ SEL competencies and overall well-being.
Keep families aware that the school community values and cares about them. Encourage school leaders and staff to maintain consistent and frequent two-way communication using multiple modes of outreach, including phone calls, text messages, emails, social media, and access to resources such as a space on your district or school website that is dedicated to providing SEL resources.
See related resources in the section on Families .
Orient families to what SEL is, why it’s essential to high-quality education, and how they can provide feedback and input and receive SEL support and other related resources.