Nurturing Educator Well-Being:
Mindfulness Practices That Support Relationship Skills
Mark T. Greenberg & Christa Turksma
Mike is a high school biology teacher who has struggled to develop close, trusting relationship with his most vulnerable and underperforming students. During covid he was very frustrated by his students lack of attendance and motivation in both his regular and AP courses…. At times he was highly critical and this just further alienated his students and afterward he felt guilty of focusing too much on academic outcomes and not on the current needs of his students. He knows that many of his students have felt alone, anxious and depressed, but he is often uncertain about what he can do to help. At times he felt so ineffective and unsupportive that he has considered leaving teaching. Like many teachers Mike needs support in rebuilding his relationships with his students.
As has become clear during the past few years, relationships are at the center of learning, not on the periphery. When students feel seen and heard, they develop healthier identities and feel bonded to their teachers and school. And when students feel cared for by teachers they are more likely to work harder on academics and care more about the quality of their work.
Developing Healthy and Caring Relationships is one of the five CASEL Competencies and Relationship Skills involve the abilities to establish and maintain healthy and supportive relationships and to effectively navigate settings with diverse individuals and groups.
Relationship Skill Practices can be found here.
When we show effective Relationship Skills, we can communicate clearly, listen with our full attention, work collaboratively to solve problems, navigate settings with different social and cultural demands, provide leadership, and seek or offer help when needed. We can create a sense of belonging that allows others to be seen and cared for.
There is convincing research to show that when adults use mindful practices, they can increase their ability to create healthy and caring student-teacher and teacher-teacher relationships.
Christa Turksma (Co- developer of CARE & Director of Training) has developed five short mindful audio practices for each of the five CASEL Competencies. Today we are releasing the five practices that focus on the CASEL Competency of Relationship Skills. The focus of These short practices are: Mindful Listening, Appreciating Others, Expressing Gratitude, Caring for Others, and having Compassion for Others (Just Like Me). These five Relationship Skill Practices can be found here.