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It Starts with Me: The Necessity of Adult Social-Emotional Learning

As educators we know that social-emotional learning (SEL) is crucial for our students. What often gets overlooked is that SEL is vital for the adults in schools, too. In fact, SEL starts with us.

As you embark on a new school year, we hope you’ll join us for a series of Fall 2021 virtual workshops in which we’ll consider SEL competencies for ourselves and for the betterment of our classrooms.

I miss flying. I would love to see my Ohio family. The lines, waiting, tight quarters—it would all be worth it.

I even miss the flight attendant’s spiel: “Should the cabin lose pressure, oxygen masks will drop from the overhead area. Please place the mask over your own mouth and nose before assisting others.” I always snicker when that portion is recited. I know that the practical thing to do is apply your own mask and then tend to others. But I’m an educator and I tend to kids. It’s my calling.

I have, however, delivered a version of that spiel. As a mentor to beginning teachers and later as a principal, I used to coach staff to take the necessary sick day.

Yes, sub plans are a hassle. It’s true that the resulting day might not be instructionally robust. Still, you need to be home. You cannot be your best self without some rest. Besides, you’ll be modeling self care to those kids you so love. That advice was given in regular years. I don’t have to tell you that the last two school years have been especially taxing.

As we return to school this fall, there are likely some additional resources coming your way. Your team may have chosen to invest in curriculum or professional learning or both.

Guidance on what and how to teach is a worthy investment, but in your efforts to shore up students’ foundational skills or reestablish the learning environment, don’t lose sight of the who. Schools are comprised of people: students, teachers, classified staff, administrators, parents, and volunteers. We need all of them to be their best selves and, as our flight attendant reminds us, the work starts with us.

Guidance on what and how to teach is a worthy investment, but in your efforts to shore up students’ foundational skills or reestablish the learning environment, don’t lose sight of the who. Schools are comprised of people: students, teachers, classified staff, administrators, parents, and volunteers. We need all of them to be their best selves and, as our flight attendant reminds us, the work starts with us.

To that end, Collaborative Classroom would like to extend some invitations. Five, in fact. This fall we are hosting a series of virtual workshops, titled “Adult SEL: It Starts with Me.” The series will focus on adult social-emotional learning, which is as necessary as the oxygen flowing through that mask on the airplane.

Each session will address one of the CASEL (Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning) competencies for SEL: self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills, and responsible decision making.

Participants will learn about the competencies, assess personal strengths, identify areas for growth, and consider what this means to the greater teaching and learning environment.

Take the time to join us for one or more of these important conversations. My colleagues Rachel Solis, Mary Tavegia, and I will be your flight attendants for this journey, and we’re prepared to focus on you. We’ll even send you off with a resource to support the start of the school year, our Reconnecting and Rebuilding Toolkit.

I encourage you to invest in yourself and, consequently, your classroom and school. You’ll find the registration information for each event below.

Adult SEL: It Starts with Me

What reflective work might we do to be ready to meet the challenges of this year?

How do the SEL competencies of adults impact classroom learning, collegial relationships, and connections to students and their families? Join us for our five-part series in Fall 2021.

September 23, 2021 • SELF-AWARENESS

October 7, 2021 • SELF-MANAGEMENT

October 21, 2021 • SOCIAL AWARENESS

November 4, 2021 • RELATIONSHIP SKILLS

November 18, 2021 • RESPONSIBLE DECISION-MAKING