As we watch students returning to school this month, leaving the carefree days of summer behind them, we can’t help but be reminded of that mixed bag of emotions children face as they prepare to meet new teachers, new classmates and of course, new triumphs and challenges. Will this be the year that you meet the teacher that you’ll remember forever for how she made you feel smart and proud or have you heard that you’ve been assigned the “tough teacher” and you’ll have to fight extra hard for those top grades?
So much of a child’s connection with his or her teacher, and the memories they will make in a given school year, go beyond what they are studying and instead are based in how a teacher makes a student feel about his or her efforts. Knowing this, it is no surprise that so many schools will begin this school year focusing on a social curriculum alongside an academic one, using such approaches as Responsive Classroom to support successful strategies for social-emotional learning and reflecting this commitment in their mission statements. Emphasizing factors like effective teacher language and behavior management void of tearing students down, the research resoundingly shows that a student that feels safe and secure achieves greater success in school. To see what we mean, read the mission statements at a few top private schools that reflect just this: Grace Church, Hotchkiss and Nightingale. This time of year reminds us of how here at Educator’s Ally, whenever we connect with candidates interested in private school teaching jobs, we insist on taking the time to learn more than just what they can teach, whether elementary, science, or math, but to understand why they love working with children.
Happy September to all those parents, teachers and students kicking off a school year filled with countless successes!
Interested in reading more? Explore these articles on Edutopia on social emotional learning.