A growing area of interest in teaching and teacher professional development that impacts the work of all teachers, but new teachers in particular, is emotional resilience. Not only cultivating emotional resilience in students, which is influencing schools a lot lately, but also cultivating emotional resilience in teachers.
This spring, I was fortunate enough to attend the New Teacher Center annual conference and attend a session with Elena Aguilar, a teacher, coach, and writer who works with teachers about cultivating compassion and building strong communities of teachers. I went to her talk on emotional resilience. In addition to helping students develop emotional resilience in the face of adversity, we need to be talking (and doing something) about this to support teachers, particularly new teachers. You can read more from Elena Aguilar about emotional resilience here and here.
In this article (read the whole thing – lots of great tips!), Aguilar discusses ways to cultivate emotional resilience. She names three specific ways to develop emotional resilience: building community, knowing yourself, and creating a plan for self-care.
Building community helps teachers feel connected. When teachers know their colleagues, students, parents, and the community, sharing stories and learning about one another, it reduces the isolation teachers can feel. Another way to build community is through professional networks. I’ve written about that here.
Another important act for helping build emotional resilience that Elena Aguilar writes about is knowing yourself. What are your teaching motivations? What makes you happiest as a teacher? How can you build on knowing this about yourself? She recommends reading Daniel Goleman and resources from the Positive Psychology Center.
And finally, find time to care for yourself. I’ve written a number of posts about this. You are a better teacher when you are taking care of yourself.