Tapping Into Our Personal ‘Why’ in 2018

By Jarred Amato, #SELinAction Series

With the start of the new year, it’s the perfect time to pause and reflect. Why do you teach? Why are you passionate about student access to SEL? What energizes and inspires you to continue learning and leading as an educator? What are your hopes for advancing SEL in your classroom and school in 2018?

Jarred Amato led a conversation with the #SELinAction community about just that on January 9, 2018. Here’s what we heard!

Self Care for Educators and Students in 2018

The conversation began with each participant sharing one word that they’re keeping in mind to guide them into 2018. Words like empower, mindful, and being present were common amongst the group. Perhaps you’ve seen #OneWord2018 trending on Twitter? What’s one word that will guide you this year?

The new year also provides the opportunity to be more mindful. The group shared what new things each are doing to build mindful practices into each day. Jarred shared that he gives himself and his students 10 mins of free journaling time to write about a topic of their choice. Other educators shared similar mindfulness routines and ways they’re spreading gratitude across their schools, such as wrapping up a student mentor letter-writing project, or introducing the Sanford Harmony: Everyday SEL Practices curriculum across the whole elementary school.

The conversation also focused on tackling the challenge of measuring the impact of SEL on students. While there is no perfect measure, it’s always helpful to hear what others are doing in their schools. Natalie and Katie from Anderson High School said their school uses climate surveys from staff, parents, students to measure student needs at the beginning of the school year and help the staff determine an area of focus for the year, and at the end of the year students take a post survey.  Principal Kate Burwinkel from Traverse City MI, looks at data on discipline, attendance, and grades with her staff. 

To close, the group shared some great strategies for keeping supporting staff and keeping up morale. They shared ideas such as: staff shoutouts from students read over the PA each morning, student-nominated “nice notes” to a teacher of their choice placed in a staff ‘s mailbox, and practicing mindfulness prior to kicking off staff meetings. So many great ideas were shared–we can’t wait to continue the conversation!  

SEL resources shared by this group:

Feeling inspired to stay connected with this community?

It was energizing to hear each of your SEL interests and to uncover ways that you can support each other. In addition to these chats, we’ll be offering opportunities for you to come together around the nuts-and-bolts of how to implement SEL practices within your schools. Problem of practice groups, buddy pairings, and a workshop on spreading SEL will launch in January.