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The Year of Change, 2020
I would like to propose a challenge – think of one positive thing that has happened to you in the past year. It’s easy to think about all the negativity we have experienced, but I would like to challenge you to find a bright spot. I’ll go first! One positive thing that happened to me in 2020 was being terminated from my job. But how can that be a positive experience? By all accounts it was a perfect job; however, it wasn’t the perfect job for me. I was unhappy because I felt like I wasn’t working to my full potential. I felt stuck. I have told my kids time and time again, “you have to be happy in whatever you choose to do.” But I was a hypocrite. I was not as happy as I could have been.
I was terminated in June of 2020, and a few weeks later I had an “a ha“ moment. For the first time in my adult life, I could decide what direction I wanted to go in and decide what I wanted to do. I decided to change my career path and enrolled in college.
Enough about me and my future, what does the future hold for our students as they enter the workforce? In a post-pandemic workplace, employers are looking beyond test scores and are seeking employees who have social emotional skills. Teaching K-12 Social Emotional Learning (SEL) can help prepare them for their future. College, trade school, jobs, and relationships can all benefit from learning social emotional skills. SEL offers students tools they need to be successful and happy.
Several large companies were asked how we can prepare today’s K-12 students for the workplace. Throughout the article these words were used to describe what businesses will be hoping to find in future employees:
- Team builders, team players, technological skills and social and emotional skills
- Looking for leaders, acceptance, diversity
- Personal Well being
- Growth Mindset
- Problem Solving
- Critical thinking
- Self-directed and disciplined
- Teamwork and collaboration
Preparing Students with SEL
SEL can be customized to accommodate a school’s culture, student base, teaching staff, and community. Our five core topics, self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills, and decisions and goals are broken down into 65 brief lessons that can be taught as part of Language Arts, Social Studies, and Health classes, as well as other subjects.
Kids have been the real “rock stars” during the pandemic by demonstrating resilience. They had to adjust to home schooling, and had to give up their social lives and extracurricular activities. My personal feeling is that this generation will be mentally strong and great innovators, problem solvers, and critical thinkers. They will be creative and disciplined! I am excited to see what the post-pandemic workplace will look like. Please join us in preparing students for their future by making SEL part of the K-12 curriculum!