We've all had to deal with others who call us names, and those who make assumptions and judgements about us. How we handle those and the resulting after waves of self-doubt can determine current and future successes, well-being, and resiliency. I've frequently looked back on that old saying, "Sticks and stones can break my bones but words can never hurt me," with amazement. Words certainly can hurt us.
Back in the days where conferences were in full bloom, I attended one of my favorites, Innovation Institute in Springdale, Arkansas, where I was also presenting. The keynote that year was Alice Keeler, and I also attended one of her sessions on Google Sheets. Yes, she is the Queen of Sheets, and for all of you English teachers out there, my content brothers and sisters, I know it seems weird to use spreadsheets in the English classroom, but you should. Here are a few ways I use spreadsheets that can be done whether you are teaching virtual or face to face in this year of craziness and uncertainty.
On Wednesday of remote learning week two, I notice my son has hair growing on his upper lip. When did that happen? I vaguely remember him saying he was shaving, but I clearly didn't believe him. My post isn't really about mustaches and eighth graders. Like many parents world-wide, this shift has been stressful for me. I wear many hats in my district, and this time of school closure has increased my workload. I feel the anxiety and stress creeping in the minute I wake up and ponder my "to do" list. Sound familiar?
Since the summer of 2018, I have been researching, writing, and trying to incorporate social emotional learning strategies into my classroom that will help my high school students. I try a lot of things during the school year, and some strategies work really well with some students, while other strategies worked with different students. I still wanted more, and then I came across the emotional skills training that Navy psychologists put in place to help raise the graduation rate for the SEAL program. From that, I've adapted it for students.
I recently wrote an article for the ISTE Teacher Education Network with a focus on mindfulness. May is mental health month, and that fits so well for us educators. This is a CRAZY time of year to work in school districts. But as the school year begins to wind down for many across the nation, and even though the end of the year business is in full swing, now is the time we can try new things, dip our toes into teaching those soft skills or new technology, and continue building relationships with students.
As a my friend and preacher reminded me recently, to have compassion, you need to SEE & ACT. It isn't enough to just see the problem and then form committees, look for curriculum, and hold meetings. We must see AND act. A curriculum, no matter how good, will not reach those students who are in desperate need of some hope.