As an educator, especially during this past year, you’re probably well-familiar with the importance of social-emotional learning for your students. Social-emotional learning (or SEL) can help students strengthen their relationships, manage stress, and cope with difficult emotions.
But have you ever stopped to consider that SEL may be important for you, too? Your students aren’t the only ones who can benefit from these important life skills. Research has shown that when teachers engage in their own social emotional learning practice, they can actively improve both their own well-being and that of their students.
Here are the top 6 reasons why teachers need adult social emotional learning.
Teachers Are Impacted By Stress
One of the top reasons why adult SEL is beneficial for teachers is because - to put it simply - teachers are stressed. Being an educator is a highly stressful career, and research shows that more than three-quarters of teachers report experiencing frequent work-related stress. In fact, teachers are one of the occupations that faces the highest amounts of stress. Sadly, the pandemic only worsened the situation and brought many teachers to their breaking point.
Adult SEL practices can help you cope with the at-times enormous amounts of stress that comes along with your job. Less stressed teachers are more effective in the classroom and are also less likely to drop out of the profession.
When Teachers Practice Adult Social Emotional Learning Skills, their Students Are More Likely to Learn the Same Skills
One study, conducted by the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence, found that when teachers were mandated to teach SEL but did not practice any of these skills in their own lives, they actually made their students’ SEL skills worse.
This is the second reason why teachers need adult social emotional learning. The extent to which teachers master these skills has a direct impact on their student’s success and functioning. All of the effort you put into teaching your students SEL skills may be for naught if you don’t practice these skills yourself.
Adult Social Emotional Learning Can Improve Student-Teacher Relationships and Overall School Climate
When teachers have the skills they need to cope with stress and manage difficult emotions, they’re more likely to have empathy for and build strong relationships with their students. Strong teacher-student relationships have been linked to better academic performance and increased emotional resilience. A more positive school community also leads to less teacher burnout.
Teachers Who Practice Adult Social Emotional Learning Skills Improve their Own Well-Being
Adult SEL can help teachers to actively incorporate a practice of self-care into their lives. This, in turn, improves teachers’ well-being. Practicing SEL as an entire school community can ensure that staff feel supported, nurtured, and encouraged as they tackle one of the most stressful occupations that exists.
Adult Social Emotional Learning Can Help Prevent Teacher Burnout and Turnover
Teacher turnover rates are alarming. More and more teachers are leaving the profession due to the high amount of stress involved. Up to a third of all teachers experience symptoms of burnout at any given time, and 8% of teachers leave the profession each year. Up to half of all new teachers quit within their first 5 years on the job.
Implementing adult SEL can equip teachers with the skills they need to manage their stress. It can also improve the overall school community, which has been linked to lower turnover rates.
Teachers Who Practice Adult Social Emotional Learning Improve their Students’ Well-Being
Lastly, children with teachers who model SEL skills for them are more likely to be able to apply their skills to their everyday lives. When you practice your own SEL skills, your students have a better chance at practicing their SEL skills. And when your student practices SEL skills, their well-being improves.
Mindfulness instruction can be a wonderful and gentle way to help both you and your students with social emotional learning. For more information about how Calm Classroom can help!