Teaching is one of the most difficult jobs, and SEL is more important than ever as we navigate these difficult times. Building strong social and emotional competence in teachers and other educators can change how they think, feel, and behave, and it can have a profound impact on their sense of wellbeing both in and out of the classroom.
When educators have strong social-emotional skills, they are:
Here are four reasons why having a strong SEL program for teachers and other educators is so important:
1. For stress management
Even in normal times, teaching can be very stressful, and many teachers are dealing with toxic levels of stress. SEL teaches educators how to effectively manage stress, which in turn will help reduce burnout and high rates of turnover. Self-regulation, coping skills, self-efficacy, and intrinsic motivation are additional skills that educators need help cultivating. They rely on these skills every day to help them meet the stressful demands of teaching.
2. To strengthen teacher preparedness
To effectively teach SEL, teachers must have a strong understanding of SEL and its impact on student learning. Yet most teachers don’t receive pre-service training in SEL. Many educators feel they need to increase their own knowledge about SEL and want more guidance on how to integrate SEL into their instructional time. Strengthening teachers’ understanding of SEL will improve their SEL instruction, which will make your SEL program more effective and increase student success.
3. To increase teacher effectiveness
SEL can help teachers become better teachers. When teachers have strong social and emotional competence, they are more likely to treat students fairly and more equitably. They have better control over their emotions, do not let stress levels get out of control, are more likely to make responsible decisions in their interactions with students, and are able to foster healthy relationships with students — all of which makes them better teachers.
4. For authentic SEL modeling
We all know how important modeling is for instruction and student learning. But to effectively — and authentically — model social and emotional skills for students, teachers themselves need strong social and emotional skills. They need to demonstrate respect, appropriate behaviors, and healthy communication. They also need to model and teach decision-making, empathy, and calming strategies when something goes wrong. When teachers model social and emotional skills authentically, classroom climate and culture improve, students feel more connected to their teachers, and classroom conflict and disruptive behaviors decrease.
SEL is so important to help educators persevere during tough times, and it makes sense that educators need SEL just as much as students do. Strong social and emotional skills enhance educators’ health and well-being and their ability to manage stress. Also, a solid understanding of SEL and social and emotional competency helps teachers effectively model SEL in the classroom and makes them better teachers. All of these benefits promote better student outcomes.
Interested in diving deeper? Read our white paper, Adults Need SEL, Too: The Case for Strengthening Educators’ SEL to learn more about the benefits of building social and emotional competence in adults and how to get to get started.