Teachers are used to being flexible and adapting quickly. One student loses a tooth, another has a bloody nose, and why in the world is that one on the floor? No problem. Hugs for one student, high fives for another, and a listening ear during recess for a third. But COVID-19 was something different. Around the country, teachers found themselves thrust into crisis management; teaching virtually to students who didn’t know how to mute or unmute; trying to get materials to others without Internet access; continuing to worry about the students who don’t get breakfast at home; and dealing with their own homelife all at the same time. The sudden school shutdown left teachers exhausted and overwhelmed. To help in supporting teachers and students with SEL, Edgenuity, in partnership with Purpose Prep, hosted a webinar series called Flattening the Emotional Curve with a focus on social and emotional support for students and educators.
Supporting Teachers and Students with SEL
The series hosted a variety of panelists, including mental health professionals, community leaders, superintendents, principals, teachers, parents, and a student. All came to share about their experience, to offer suggestions to those in attendance, and to join in this new community of people who are all trying to quickly adapt. One thing that was readily apparent is that teachers—from the newest ones to veterans with decades of experience—felt like they weren’t doing enough or weren’t doing it correctly. The phrase “connection over content” was used in the first webinar and became a refrain throughout the series. In this time of upheaval and loss for teachers and students alike, connection became a foundation to get through each day. The webinars aim to support educators’ own mental health and SEL, as well as offer guidance in supporting students’ mental health and SEL. We hope you will find them helpful and encouraging. Please keep an eye out for information about our back-to-school webinar series specifically focused on educator SEL as well.