George Lucas Educational Foundation

A Mental and Emotional Tool Kit for Teachers (and students)

A Mental and Emotional Tool Kit for Teachers (and students)

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We've all heard of a multitude of strategies and received a lot of advice to help us management classrooms better. There's one catch. People have to be in the right cognitive and emotional place to access and act on that advice and information, and to do what makes sense at the time. And unfortunately, we really are not taught how to do that as part of our teacher preparation in college, and have to rely on our prior experience. That could be good or bad. We all come to teaching with pre-existing cognitive, emotional and behavioral "ruts". Some of those will make some of us naturals, and others will cause us to make mistakes with students, especially the most troubled and troublesome who we can least afford to make mistakes with. Those "ruts" also cause many of us to experience much more stress than is necessary. E-motion can be helpful energy to move. If you're frustrated about the way a day goes, it will motivate you to come up with a plan so you can have a better day. But too often teachers generate a dysfunctional amount of emotion that causes them to react to events rather than respond in the best possible way. And there's two ways to make something you don't like worse, do nothing and overreact to it. Anger is the number one "enemy of effectiveness" for teachers. It can make otherwise smart people do stupid things. Anxiety is the other big one. What most people call stress is really anxiety. I started taking post-grad courses in Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy (REBT) and Education (REBE) over two decades ago, to both help my health education students and myself. I knew many of them and I were generating more emotion than was helpful or necessary, more than was healthy, more than we wanted to have, more than we knew what to do with, and a type and amount that worked against us instead of for us. I found the answers to that problems with REBT. I'm now retired and talk to people about what I like to call "A Mental and Emotional Tool Kit". I advocate for teaching teachers these tools for their own sake: to help them make less mistakes, to reduce their stress, to be more effective, to have better mental, emotional and physical health. Finally, to eventually teach them to their students for their sake. It also makes your job easier if kids self-manage better. I teach grad classes called "Tool Kit for Teachers" and "Troubleshooting with troubled students" geared toward teachers. I also teach ones entitled "Mental and Emotional Vaccination", "Emotional Karate" and "Mental and Emotional Fitness" geared toward showing teachers how to teach these "tools" to students for their good. I invite you to read about the "tools". Go to the different pages to do so by clicking on tabs. Remember, we have to be able to get into the right cognitive and emotional place to perform at the levels we are capable of, whether we're teachers or students. These "tools" will help you and your students get there.

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Jessica's picture
Building Confidence in Students, One Child at a Time

Thanks for this great post! Students who go through a lot of depression or trauma require certain kind of help which give them confidence to build up their personality. I am sure these tips which you shared will be useful to many students.

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