Although we teach different subjects and grade levels, as educators we all want the same things for our children. We want them to be happy, healthy, and successful. And we want them to be kind and productive members of society.
Research and practical experience have shown us time and time again that the most powerful way to teach the characteristics and behaviors we want to see in children is to model them. For those of us who want to do better for our young people, we can make collaboration a habitual part of our workday in our schools.
Harness the Greater Community
If you and your fellow educators face challenges such as bullying, chronic absenteeism, a lack of access to books and supplies, or even a rise in anxiety and other mental health issues among your staff and students, Share My Lesson can help. Teachers and principals cannot and should not solve these problems alone. Check out our collection of resources tailored to paraprofessionals and school-related personnel and share them with your school’s support staff members, who help to make schools safe and welcoming places every day.
Community collaboration is the key message in three of our blogs: “Attendance Awareness: How to Defeat an Overlooked Barrier to Equity,” “Beyond the School Fundraisers: Finding Meaningful Opportunities for Family and Community Engagement,” and “Power in Community and Conversation: One Year after Charlottesville.” No matter what your school may be facing, working together shows young people how we can join forces to solve complex problems.
Shine a Light on Well-Being
With anxiety, depression, and other mental health concerns on the rise, educators can respond by reaching out to experienced professionals to help bring well-being back into focus. For more on this topic, check out the new resources in our “Promoting Children’s Well-Being” and “Mental Health Awareness” collections.
We have also recently pulled resources together that focus on teacher well-being. If we are not OK, how can we expect our students to be? Be sure to peruse our “Educator Wellness and New Teachers Webinars” collection as well as our blog on maintaining work-life balance.
Additionally, an uptick of conversations on punitive discipline practices, such as out-of-school suspension, has encouraged us to create a collection on restorative practices, which can help schools move toward more effective and equitable ways to foster positive school culture and behavior. For practical solutions to common behavioral challenges, check out these three recent Share My Lesson blogs: “Four Ways to Foster Emotional Intelligence,” “Knee-to-Knee Conflict Resolution: Success Starts with Support for Teachers,” and “Conformity, Identity, and Rebellion: A Thematic Approach to SEL.”
Explicitly Teach Our Values
In response to unwanted behaviors, school climate researcher Sameer Hinduja suggests that we tell our students, “We don’t act that way because we are Seahawks” (or Mustangs, or whatever your school mascot may be). His research demonstrates the incredible correlation between school culture and academic success.
Students cannot learn when they feel threatened, invisible, or disrespected. One of our new partners, Ashoka, offers several resources to teach empathy and other social skills. Another partner, the Middle School Kindness Challenge, offers a way to infuse research-based social-emotional learning into the rituals of school life.
It may feel cliché to say, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” But if we want to change the national conversation, we must start with showing our young people how to work together. It is essential not just for their health and development but for our own.
Let us know what lesson plans or tools are missing from the list below and how we can continue to support you by emailing us at [email protected].
–THE SHARE MY LESSON TEAM
American Educator, Winter 2018-2019
This post originally appeared in the American Educator Winter 2018 - 2019.