Each day our children arrive at the doors of our classrooms with many challenges that serve as barriers to their success as learners. These children are poor; they are English-language learners and English-language speakers; they are White, Hispanic, African American, and Asian; they are urban, suburban and rural. However, regardless of who they are, where they come from, or the extent of their poverty or wealth, the reality is that many of them lack personal, social and emotional skills. As educators social-emotional competence is crucial for promoting a positive learning environment. Socially and emotionally competent educators set the tone for the classroom by developing strong, supportive and encouraging relationships with their children. Social-emotional competence provides the necessary skills for educators to effectively manage their classroom, and successfully implement social and emotional learning. Therefore, when we as educators lack the resources to effectively manage the social and emotional challenge within our classroom, children begin to show lower levels of on-task behavior and performance.
For this assignment, when completing the Self-Assessing Social and Emotional Instruction and Competencies tool, the social and emotional competency I scored the highest was in Instructional Interactions. Quality instructional interactions are crucial for children’s learning and development. Children benefit when we as educators engage in stimulating interactions that support their learning and are emotionally supportive. When we experience mastery over social and emotional challenges, teaching becomes more enjoyable. Self-awareness is important and that is something that has influenced my score within this area. Helping children with emotional and behavioral disabilities begins with understanding ourselves. We must develop effective strategies for regularly monitoring and managing our own stress in order to manage relationships with others. As an educator there are times, I need a safe place to express my feelings and frustration and recharge those emotional batteries. We must recognize emotions, emotional patterns, and tendencies and know how to generate and use emotions such as joy and enthusiasm to motivate learning in ourselves and others. We must be culturally sensitive, understand that others nay have different perspectives than we do. We must have a realistic understanding of our capabilities and recognize our emotional strengths and weakness. Therefore, as educators we must regulate our emotions in healthy ways in order to facilitate positive classroom outcomes.
All interactions we as educators have with children can influence how they learn, grow and feel about themselves. Social interactions are one of the most important factors for the development of everybody, from young children to the elderly. After completing the self assessing tool for teachers, I was shocked to see that I scored the lowest within this area. Social interactions are how we act and react to those around us. It is one of the most effective ways for us as educators to learn creative methods and to solve complex problems. Unable to be socially aware is a problem for me as an educator and I’m surprised that this is what influenced my score in this area. Social awareness is a crucial component of appropriate classroom behavior, which contributes to an environment conducive to learning. As educators we must recognize our emotions and children emotions in order to have insight into what’s causing them, to help us respond with a compassionate understanding and re-direct behavior appropriately. Therefore, as an educator these skills are imperative not only for my personal well-being but to improve children’s learning.
All interactions are important to children’s development, instructionally or socially. After completing the self-assessment tool, I have to say I was impressed with both the results I received. Scoring at a 79 within Instructional Interactions allowed me to see my strengths and what I needed to work on as an educator within my instructional teaching practices. According to Responsive Interactions and Instruction in Prekindergarten through 3rd Grade (2014), as educators we must use responsive interactions and comprehensive instructional strategies to create caring learning communities so that children come to school eager to learn. Therefore, we must use a variety of techniques that are responsive to young children’s learning styles, experiences, and culture, including encouragement, giving specific feedback, modeling, adding a challenge, offering clues, providing information, and giving directions (Tarrant, 2014). Educators who have social-emotional competency are high in both self-and-social awareness. Scoring at a 78 in Social Interactions I would have to disagree. As an educator I can recognize and manage my own emotions as well as understand how my emotional responses impact others. According to Social Responsibility of Educators (2013), it is our responsibility to provide a nurturing and welcoming learning environment for all children, and to take seriously the position of influence we are in. Not all children learn the same or at the same rate, but they all deserve the same opportunities to learn and succeed. We are considered important socializers of emotion, providing children experiences that promote or deter their development of emotional competence.
Strong leadership is a vital component of any thriving classroom. According to the self-rating score I received, the leadership skills I possess that support both social-emotional competencies is self-awareness. Knowing ones own social identity is the key in developing a classroom built on inclusive relationships. Self-awareness plays a critical role in how we as educators learn and grow. As an educator being aware of my emotional life in the classroom is a conscious act of professional willpower. We must be able to recognize our emotions in order to understand not only self but others and, in fact, the world around us.
Our job is to teach the children we have. Not the ones we would like to have. Not the ones we use to have. Those we have right now (Yoder, 2013). As educators we must become more self-aware of the importance of our word choice, the tone of our voice, and body language and how that can alter an atmosphere into a positive or negative one. Although most of us are not aware of it, but all educators possess a cultural identity. We must as educators be aware of our own culture and its effects on our teaching as well as being aware of our children’s culture and its effect on learning.
As educators we contribute to the social and emotional development of our children. Supportive teacher-student relationships play an important role in healthy classrooms. A well-designed social environment helps foster positive peer relationships and provide opportunities for children to achieve their social goals. We must teach children how to recognize emotions and to express them in ways that are socially appropriate. Children who don’t learn to use emotional language have a hard time understanding and labeling their own feelings. Therefore, as an educator I must ensure that my children have opportunities across their day to interact and create important relationships.
All our children come with unique experiences and backgrounds, just like we as educators all have different experience that prepare us to excel or flounder in the classroom. In every aspect of teaching, we make choices and take action. Our decisions are shaped by who we are. When we become self-aware as educators, we make conscious choices. I am responsible for establishing a successful learning environment, one that values and enable learning for both children and teacher. Responsive 21st century teaching requires us as educators to create environments and provide experiences that encourage exploration and inquiry, and nurture creativity and curiosity.
- Tarrant, K. (2014). Responsive interactions and instruction in prekindergarten through 3rd grade: Building a strong foundation for the common core learning standards. Retrieved from https://www.ccf.ny.gov/files/9615/2086/8842/interactionssixpageweb.pdf
- Sihem, B. (2013). Social responsibility of educators. International Journal of Educational Research and Technology, 4, 46-51. Retrieved from http://www.soeagra.com/ijert/ijertmarch2013/8.pdf
- Yoder, N. (2013). How to support teachers with good social and emotional skills. Retrieved from https://www.edweek.org/media/150305presentation(4pm).pdf