George Lucas Educational Foundation

The teacher's emotional balancing act

The teacher's emotional balancing act

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How do you teachers do it? How do you open yourselves up to your students emotional needs day after day, and still take care of your own? Especially with at-risk kids; have you found tools for protecting your own hearts as you try to be there for kids with little love and support at home?

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Elana Leoni's picture
Elana Leoni
Edcamper, Former @Edutopia, Founder of Social Media Marketing Consultancy aimed at helping educational orgs.

This doesn't answer your question but I came across this blog by a teacher that deals with a similar situation.

Here's an excerpt:

When I think about the classes I've taught over the years,it seems to me that usually boys act out and become more aggressive when stressed while girls usually become more passive and withdrawn. I say usually because of course we all can all think of boys who have become more passive in response to stress and girls who have become aggressive.

When we're trying help kids who are at-risk because of the behavior they manifest, we try to find out what's going on at home. I've called parents lots of times to ask if anything is going on at home that might affect a student. Often, there is. Teachers can't solve the problems that cause stress for students at home other than to suggest appropriate counseling, but we can help with the stress at school. Read more.

Erika Saunders's picture
Erika Saunders
6th-8th Special Ed, LS & Mentally Gifted teacher

It's hard, but I try not to take the negative stuff they "dish out" personally. It rarely, if ever, has to do with me. It's about what they are going through at home, in the past, or with themselves. Don't get me wrong: I take their lives and education VERY seriously! I just try not to take on their frustration, hostility, anger, fear, anxiety, etc. I try to look beyond that and see what's the root of the problem. If I can help ease the burden a bit, I try. If I can't, I try to be supportive and an ear for them.

Kati Delahanty's picture

I do a lot of writing WITH my students. Helping them recognize the process of their emotions reminds me of my own.

And, to take care of my own, I do a ton of yoga :)

I am a teacher who thinks it is okay to show and share my emotions (within boundaries) with my students. This comes out mostly in small groups, circles--which is a ritual we use in class to continue to build and nurture our community--and written feedback. I think it's important to model how to recognize and try to understand our emotions (which as we know are incredibly complex).

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