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Happy (Belated) Teacher Appreciation Week!

A person wearing glasses looks up toward the sunlight while smiling.

As another school year comes to an end, we wish to acknowledge the hard work teachers have put in to serving their students this year. Teachers play a critical role in students’ lives from engaging in academic instruction to fostering social and emotional skills in their students.

Teaching can be a rewarding and satisfying profession; however, it can also be a challenging role as teachers may find dissonance as they work to promote self-caring behaviors in their students but find that they, themselves, have little time to engage in healthy practices. Demands, such as meeting the needs of students and parents, working long hours, and changing roles and expectations, can cause teachers to experience burnout and compassion fatigue. A 2022 Gallup poll listed teaching as the profession with the highest rates of burnout, and more than 1 in 10 teachers report feeling either always or very often burned out at work. Most educators chose their profession because they want to teach and impart knowledge to young people and support their students during these developmental years.  Now that this year’s teacher appreciation week has come and gone, however, we challenge educators to learn how and support themselves as they work to create a healthier work-life balance.

So, what can teachers do to prevent, or heal from, burnout?

  1. Make yourself a priority. Remind yourself that you are important! You deserve downtime and can take time to increase your well-being. Many educators often prioritize the needs of dozens, if not hundreds, of students over their own needs. Find times to check in with yourself throughout the day and assess your personal priorities. Take breaks to eat, rest, and engage in positive self-talk.
  2. Establish boundaries. Define your boundaries regarding your workload, let others know what these limits are, and stick to them. Consider setting boundaries around answering phone calls and emails, determine how much work you’re willing to do from home or in off hours, and even reflect on how much time you spend thinking about work. A boundary is a rule that you set for yourself; while you can’t say, “I will not answer this parent’s emails because he’s annoying me,” you might be able to say “my boundary is that I will only answer questions once, during my designated office hours, and then I will refer parents who still have questions to my website’s FAQ page or to the principal for more information.”
  3. Make a plan. Consider multiple areas of your well-being, such as professional, social, emotional, physical, and spiritual. Are you meeting all of your needs? If the answer is no, consider what small steps you can take to meet your needs. Make specific goals, and keep track of your progress to motivate yourself to keep engaging in positive behaviors.
  4. Keep learning. The School Resources to Support Military-Connected Students website offers a free series of on-demand trainings for educators that address burnout and compassion fatigue, personal self-care, professional self-care, mindfulness, and social-media use. Each of these trainings takes about 10 minutes to complete and can help remind teachers about best practices in burnout prevention.

To visit these trainings and learn more about self-care and burnout prevention, please click here: http://schoolresources.militaryfamilies.psu.edu/modules/series/self-care/

Happy teacher appreciation week and thank you for all you do to support students! We hope these resources are useful in your professional practice. If you have questions or need help, visit the Contact Us page to reach out to us. If you would like to receive updates about new trainings or resources, sign up for our Mailing List.

Reference(s):

Gallup (2022). Gallup panel workforce study. https://www.gallup.com/workplace/349484/state-of-the-global-workplace-2022-report.aspx

Strategies to Meet the Socioemotional and Behavioral Needs of Military-Connected Students

Group of high school students sitting at desks in a classroom and writing on paper

The goal of the School Resources to Support Military-Connected Students website is to translate evidence-informed practice for the benefit of all military-connected students. Fenning (2022) recommends implementing a multi-tiered systems of support (MTSS) framework in schools. This framework can help schools make data-based decisions about the behavioral and socioemotional needs of military-connected students and determine, deliver, and evaluate interventions to all students (tier 1), to groups of students who need additional help (tier 2), and to individual students who have the highest needs (tier 3).

In tier 1, teachers can integrate low-intensity, classroom-based strategies with all students in order to improve student engagement (Pullen & Kennedy, 2018). Small, simple shifts in teacher behavior can lead to positive changes in student performance (Horner & Sugai, 2015). However, when tier 1 strategies are not working, schools may rush to implement tier 2 or tier 3 strategies with large numbers of students, but doing this may not be the best use of valuable resources (i.e., the time of school-based mental health personnel). Instead, schools should try to improve the existing tier 1 strategies that are being implemented by teachers as part of their instruction (Pullen & Kennedy, 2018).

To help schools meet the socioemotional and behavioral needs of military-connected students, we have created free, evidence-informed online learning modules that contain strategies that teachers can implement with all students at the tier 1 level in the classroom. Our learning modules typically take 10-15 minutes each to complete, and you can choose which modules to focus on based on your needs. To learn more about the modules, click on the links below. If you have additional questions about the online learning modules, explore the FAQs page.

Learning Modules

Classroom Management

  • This series is a collection of 18 trainings that are related to promoting positive student behavior, responding to student misbehavior, and modifying student behavior.

Socioemotional Learning

  • This series is a collection of 18 trainings that are related to integrating socioemotional learning (SEL) into academic content, incorporating explicit SEL instruction, and assimilating SEL intervention.

Thank you for all you do to support military-connected students. We hope these resources are useful in your professional practice. If you have questions or need help, visit the Contact Us page to reach out to us. If you would like to receive updates about new trainings or resources, sign up for our Mailing List.

Reference(s):


Fenning, P. (2022). School supports for students in military families. The Guilford Press.

Horner, R. H., & Sugai, G. (2015). School-wide PBIS: An example of applied behavior analysis implemented at a scale of social importance. Behavior Analysis in Practice, 8(1), 80–85. https://doi.org/10.1007/s40617-015-0045-4.

Lane, K. L., Oakes, W. P., & Menzies, H. M. (2019). Comprehensive, Integrated, Three-Tiered (CI3T) models of prevention: The role of systemic screening to inform instruction. In P. C. Pullen & M. J. Kennedy (Eds.), Handbook of response to intervention and multi-tiered systems of support (pp. 63-75). Routledge. https://www.routledge.com/Handbook-of-Response-to-Intervention-and-Multi-Tiered-Systems-of-Support/Pullen-Kennedy/p/book/9780415626040


Integrating Socioemotional Learning into Your Existing Practices

A psychologist sits in the background, using emotion emoticons of a smile and frown with a child with an autism spectrum disorder.

By the mid-point mark in a school year, educators can probably identify some students who would benefit from additional support as these students try to manage their emotions and/or engage in social situations. Many educators understand the benefits of implementing socioemotional learning (SEL) with their students, but they do not know what resources are available or cannot find time to address this topic in an existing curriculum. The School Resources to Support Military-Connected Families website offers free, online learning modules that can help school personnel integrate SEL into their existing practices. Links to nine 10-to-15-minute learning modules that include a brief overview of the research, tools, and strategies that you can integrate into your professional practice are listed below. We encourage you to explore any and all that interest you!

Learning Modules

Active Listening

  • Effectively utilize active-listening strategies to demonstrate empathy and foster change when working with students.

Integrating SEL Competencies into Instruction

  • Integrate SEL competencies into academic instruction.

Staying Neutral

  • Remain calm, and stay neutral during problem situations.

Validating Emotions

  • Model emotional awareness and emotional regulation.

Warm Demander

  • Communicate a demand for mutual respect and academic effort, and demonstrate a sense of genuine caring for students.

Maintain Rigorous Expectations

  • Maintain high expectations of students regardless of other factors.

Responsibility and Choice

  • Provide opportunities for students to make decisions and show responsibility.

Cooperative Learning and Socioemotional Learning

  • Structure cooperative learning activities in a manner that encourages the development of students’ interpersonal skills.

Brain Breaks

  • Utilize brain breaks to help students re-focus as necessary.

Thank you for all you do to support military-connected students. We hope these resources are useful in your professional practice. If you have questions or need help, visit the Contact Us page. If you would like to receive updates about new trainings or resources, sign up for our Mailing List.

Reference(s):

The Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning. (2023). What does the research say? CASEL. https://casel.org/fundamentals-of-sel/what-does-the-research-say/

Student Suicide Prevention

A high school student sits in his counselor's office. The counselor is smiling and leaning forward. The student is facing toward the counselor, leaning his chin on his hand.

September was National Suicide Prevention and National Preparedness Month. Now that September has come and gone, how do you feel about your school’s readiness to prevent and respond to student suicide?

The School Resources for Military-Connected Students website offers a series of 42 free, online, on-demand, bite-sized learning modules that examine and talk about preventing and responding to student suicidal ideation, student suicide attempts, and student suicide and those left behind. You can complete the entire series, or you can focus on a specific module or several modules based on your school’s needs. The learning modules are based on research that pertains to student suicide. We invite you to explore the first training in the series, which is listed below:

Readiness to Prevent Student Suicide

  • Create a plan to improve the readiness of you and your school to detect and respond to student suicide ideation.

Additional Resources

Below are additional resources to help you strengthen suicide prevention efforts in your school:

Suicide Prevention Resource Center: School Resources

  • The link above will take you to a website compiled by the Suicide Prevention Resource Center in collaboration with the University of Oklahoma and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). This website houses a variety of resources and information that intend to help schools take action to prevent student suicide. It also offers information on how schools can prepare to react and respond when a student suicide death does occur.

Model Youth Suicide Awareness and Prevention Policy

  • The link above is a resource that was created to identify and inform those involved in school settings about Pennsylvania’s Model Youth Suicide Awareness and Prevention Policy. This was created, exclusively, for school entities.

Preventing Youth Suicide: Brief Facts and Tips

  • The link above is a fact sheet created by the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP), and it includes information about student suicide. This fact sheet provides facts and tips that intend to help school personnel prevent student suicide.

Thank you for all you do to support military-connected students. We hope these resources are useful in your professional practice. If you have questions or need help, visit the Contact Us page to reach out to us. If you would like to receive updates about new trainings or resources, sign up for our Mailing List.

Establishing Routines that Promote Positive Student Behavior

Many educators have had trouble managing student behavior at one time or another. But, did you know that the routines you establish at the start of the school year can encourage positive student behavior that could last the whole school year? The School Resources to Support Military-Connected Students website offers free online learning modules and resources that can help you create a positive learning environment for your students.

Learning Modules

Making Classroom Rules

  • Learn how to adapt and implement rules that can promote positive behavior in students.

Classroom Arrangement

  • Learn how to create a classroom that promotes positive behavior in students.

Behavioral Expectations by Activity

  • Learn and define behavioral expectations to implement in instructional activities.

Resources

Maximize Structure and Predictability

  • This worksheet will help you establish routines that will increase the structure and predictability of your classroom procedures.

Reducing Problem Behaviors in the Elementary School Classroom

  • “Designed for elementary school educators and school- and district-level administrators, this guide offers prevention, implementation, and schoolwide strategies that can be used to reduce problematic behavior that interferes with the ability of students to attend to and engage fully in instructional activities” (Institute of Education Sciences, 2008).

Thank you for all you do to support military-connected students. We hope these resources are useful in your professional practice. If you have questions or need help, visit the Contact Us page. If you would like to receive updates about new trainings or resources, sign up for our Mailing List.

Reference(s):

Institute of Education Sciences. (2008. September). Reducing behavior problems in the elementary school classroom. https://ies.ed.gov/ncee/wwc/PracticeGuide/4