I knew the importance of social/emotion development, but, I didn’t truly understand the importance of it until now. During this time, I was working with students in crisis.
Working with students that don’t have Social Skills or are unable to self-regulate can be very challenging. It’s hard to know when it’s time to throw in the towel and say “I’m done;” Or continue working with them until you are able to see some improvement.
It seems so simple to walk up to a group of students that are engaged in play and say; “Can I play? Or learn how to take turns with a toy or even play with a group of friends without hurting them, while still following the rules of a game. Unfortunately, these tasks can be very hard for students that lack Social/Emotional development.
We all get angry at times, and each one of us handles it in a different way. Some of us walk away or yell. But imagine a child that can’t walk away, but instead hits things, kicks, screams and lose total control of their emotions. It can be very frustrating and tiring, but understanding where this lack of control comes from will help one understand the student and work toward helping them.
I did a series on Feelings, we talked about what being angry, sad and unhappy was, and the students were encouraged to put real life situations into the three groups. We discussed the things that made them happy, sad and angry. Each day we put our names on the face that represented what we were feeling. Some students started the day off feeling unhappy, but later went back and changed their name to the face that was happy. They had the opportunity to control their own feelings and share it with others.
I used the website http://csefel.vanderbilt.edu/ to get information on Social/ Emotional activities and books. My students really enjoyed the super friend cape. Those students that represented what a super friend was, was able to wear the super cape for the day. Each day we picked a different friend.
Emotions are still high, but better, I hear students say, get out of my bubble rather than hitting, they are open to drawing and writing in the feelings book. Although this is still a challenge in our class, we are working on it.
The best advice I can give teachers that are going through this is to know your limits. If you are done, you are done. That doesn’t mean you are not a good teacher or that you don’t care. It means you know what your limits are and you are showing human emotions. Stepping back works not only for you but for the children as well.