In January I began a deep dive in Elena Aguilar’s Onward: Cultivating Emotional Resilience in Educators and the accompanying workbook. I hope to share some of my reflections as I build daily habits to strength my own resilience and support that growth in others. Aguilar outlines a habit and a disposition for each month of the year. Follow along as I reflect on each month’s key ideas.
July’s habit is Understand Emotions and the disposition is Acceptance.
Early on in this chapter Aguilar discusses how she has learned more about Social Emotional Learning (SEL) as an adult than she ever did as a child. I think this is true for many of us. I never learned much about emotions – what they are, when they occur, or even how to label them. I loved reading about the cycle of an emotion and realizing we each have the power to stop the cycle by recognizing where we are before we act out unconsciously.
When I read this section last year, I wrote a note in the margin that was a quote from a former colleague, also named Amy. Amy said to a group of teacher leaders we were working with, “Your emotions are a status report.” This quote has resonated me for a year and it’s so true! When your emotions come to light, they are trying to tell you something. Often we feel the physical signs of hunger or stress before we realize how hungry or upset we are. If we ignore those status reports, things can go wrong. If we learn to read our own status reports and those of others around us, we can address emotions before they create a crisis.
This entire section is making me want to watch “Inside Out” again, which is actually one of the suggestions! The more we talk about and explore our emotions, the more we can understand them and become more resilient. As I read this month’s chapter, I also transitioned into a new job. One of the main focus areas for our district this coming year is Social Emotional Learning. My rereading of Onward was a perfect support into this work!
The disposition of acceptance helps us see and acknowledge each of our emotions as they are happening. It also helps when we can distinguish the difference between anger and sadness, or other emotions and moods that get twisted in their attack on us. July is a great time to get more rest, take care of yourself emotionally and physically, in preparation for another great school year.
If you’ve been reading this series, I would love to hear from you.
- Have you read or reread Aguilar’s Onward book?
- How does your school/district address Social Emotional Learning?
- What habits have you developed to support your own emotional resiliency?
- Which habit and disposition from Onward has resonated with you the most?
Posts in the Building Resilience series: