As 2019 begins, I’ve decided to challenge myself with a new blog series. I read Onward: Cultivating Emotional Resilience in Educators by Elena Aguilar (my educational spirit animal!) midway through last year. I loved it, as I’ve loved all of her professional books, but I realized that a deeper study of the work could benefit my own emotional resilience as well as others. I’ve decided to reread the book and use the accompanying workbook to reflect; I will dedicate a blog post to share some of my reflection each month.
In this series, I will focus on the monthly habit and disposition outlined by Aguilar throughout the book, going January through December. I would love it if you would join me in this journey. If you haven’t yet read this amazing and support book, you have a chance to purchase a copy for yourself before my blog series begins. We could consider this our own virtual book club, as we support one another in cultivating our own emotional resilience as educators. As Aguilar writes, “the opportunity for resilience originates in how we make sense of the things that happen, because interpretation dictates actions”. I plan to use this blog series to build the skills that help interpret stressful situations in the heat of the moment.
This reminds me a lot of my year focused on mindfulness. In fact, reading Onward the first time made me think about mindfulness quite a bit. I hope this blog series will help remind me to be present, in the moment, of life, and to shine a light on my professional growth.
I reread the Introduction as I wrote this first post. From the beginning, Aguilar defines resilience as a way of being, and something that we can grow through daily practice. She sets the stage for the importance of this, given how stressful daily life as an educator can be. We want to move away from toxic stress and into healthy stress; the statistics of teacher turnover in the U.S. are staggering. As a leader, I want to help other educators do more than survive stress, I want them to thrive as they work towards educational equity for all students. If we want to engender resilience in our students, we must ensure that the adults who work with the students are resilience themselves. I appreciate that Aguilar breaks down the work into three overlapping areas:
- individual resilience
- organizational conditions
- systemic conditions
In the Onward workbook, Aguilar begins with journaling, drawing, and collecting ideas as we prepare to build habits to help us build our resilience. I am a journaler by nature; I reflect best by writing. I am also a collector, of ideas more than of stuff, which aligns with one of my top strengths, Input. I look forward to using the ideas presented in the workbook to prepare for this journey.
Next up in the series:
- January – Habit: Cultivate Compassion; Disposition: Perspective