Teachers have a difficult but rewarding job. Sometimes, they feel underappreciated for the service they provide to students and families across this country. Public education continues to take hits in the media. The public perception of education and teachers often seems negative. Sometimes, it feels like the ills of society are somehow the fault of teachers. Our education system bears too much responsibility. Consequently, educators feel the burden of trying to raise test scores, maneuvering ever changing policies, inconsistent leadership and more. It leaves teachers to wonder how does the public perception affect their jobs and morale.
We, the public are bombarded with information about school funding, standardized testing, and comparing our educational system to those in other countries. Recently, we listened to politicians debate whether the Secretary of Education is qualified to serve in the position. Also, we heard about the possibility of major decreases in funding for schools. Overall, it’s hard to see positives when all the news appears to be negative. However, the public perception of education and teachers is not as bad as it seems.
Three out of four Americans have trust and confidence in public school teachers.
Social-Emotional Learning is the Rage
Social-emotional learning is all the rage in education. However, the focus is mainly on the children and not on the adults. Rarely is it discussed the possibilities of addressing the social-emotional needs of educators. It is time to explore how social-emotional learning for the adults can positively change the field of education. It is time to discuss that educators need social-emotional learning, too.
As a principal of a high needs school, my team and I focused on developing great social-emotional programming for our students. Our students came to us with an array of emotions, experiences, and circumstances. Consequently, we recognized that these issues affected teaching and learning. Then we took into consideration the needs of our students and began to offer services and programming as a means of support.
While providing social-emotional support to our students, we did not look deep enough into the needs of the teachers and staff members. We implemented great programs like Calm Classroom, Second Step. CHAMPS, restorative practice and peace circles. We also created a care team consisting of counselors, social workers, psychologists, teachers, assistant principal, and principal. Also, we provided professional development to the teachers in all of the programming. We became a trauma-informed school. However, now in hindsight, one component was missing. Social-emotional learning for teachers and staff should have been a priority, too. Continue reading