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Social Emotional Learning

9 Tips for Working with “Difficult” Populations

“Troubled”, “High Risk”, “Difficult”, these are just some of the names that we label our students. With displays of symptoms of underlying problems, we often see behavior that can involve aggression towards self or others, extreme “attention-seeking”, low self-esteem or disproportionately inflated sense of arrogance, substance use, general disrespect towards authority figures, and more.  Admittedly, these kids are not always the easiest to work with. It takes endless amounts of patience, training, experience, and compassion to work with many “at-risk” students. That said if you are in a leadership role (teacher, coach, counselor, etc.) you can be a role model and show behaviors they may have not been exposed to before. While it may seem obvious that as a leader you will display compassion, authenticity, and patience, these youth may have never seen an adult act in this way before. In addition, it can be difficult to dig deep and find your own stride as you roll with their behaviors.
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What is SEL?

SEL, or social and emotional learning, is essential, but its definition may not be easy to pinpoint. In the past, education centered around academic achievement – give students information and expect them to remember it. But times have changed. Our understanding of human beings has changed. And as a result, what we teach in school has, and still needs to, change. Enter Social Emotional Learning.

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5 Dangerous Relationships Students in your School Need to Know About

Friends mean a lot to the teens in your school. In fact, peer relationships are so important they are often referred to as the second family. And yet peer relationships can often be harmful in the life of a teen. Poor or dangerous relationships can lead to risky behavior, substance abuse, truancy, and worse. For teens, having the right friends can have a huge impact on where life leads. Continue Reading

5 Steps for Developing Protective Factors against Teen Suicide

Tylor blamed herself for everything wrong in her life and saw no hope for her future. She’d never been in trouble before, but she’d just gotten caught bringing marijuana to school and was suspended. As a result, she felt like everyone was disappointed in her, and she felt like she had irrevocably ruined all her dreams and plans for the future. She sat in suspension alone in her pain, seeing no way to recover. She blamed herself for everything wrong in her life. When she left school that day, she went into her basement and took her life. Protective factors could have made a difference in her story, and they can make a difference in your teens’ too.

Tylor’s story is not unique. Every day teenagers across the nation die by suicide, teens who should have lived and prospered, teens who deserved to be happy. Their deaths, these tragedies, impact families and communities forever. And whether anyone in your school has taken their life or not, you can be sure that suicide has had some impact on your teens one way or another. Continue Reading

Creating an environment of empathy: 6 classroom strategies you can implement today

On July 9, 2017, a group of five Florida teens, aged fourteen to nineteen, watched a man drown. They did not call for help. They did not try and assist him. In fact, the teens recorded the man’s final moments, taunted and mocked him as he struggled to stay afloat, and then posted the video of his death on YouTube. (CNN reported on the story.) And though this story speaks to many issues, one thing is certain. These teens lacked empathy. Continue Reading