This is the final installment of our September Self-Care blog series, in which we are encouraging educators to practice self-care for the purpose of a thriving inclusive classroom. Part 1 discussed how we can fill our own cup to fill others’, part 2 shared the transformative power of gratitude, Part 3 addressed the importance of physical movement, and today we’ll explore how important reflection is to a self-care practice.
Reflect on the Daily
Each and every day, it’s important that we take a moment to think about the day behind us. In any given school day, we may come in contact with difficult students, teachers, administrators – and we are given opportunities to grow and learn from each interaction. If we don’t recognize these encounters as learning experiences, we are missing growth and transformative opportunities.
In our upcoming book, From Behavior to Belonging: The Inclusive Art of Supporting Students who Challenge Us we provide an exercise that helps educators to reflect on each day and to process and heal from the challenging emotions that come from this very difficult work.
First, we invite teachers to reflect on a difficult situation with a student. Follow the below steps to help transform your relationship with the situation. And begin to heal yourself so you can also heal the situation.
Describe the situation in full detail.
Describe YOUR feelings about the situation.
Here are a list of feelings to get you started:
- Shut down
- Keep going… what else did you feel?
Where do those feelings live or reside inside your body?
When have you ever felt like that before? Describe a time you have felt like this before.
At that time, what did you need? What did you need to hear or what did you not receive in the past when that type of situation arose.
For example, I needed comfort from my mom. I needed her to help and say it would all be ok.
What would it look like to give yourself that exact thing now?
Do you currently sit down at the end of your day to reflect? Can you see how this self-care practice can transform your classroom? When we see difficult encounters with coworkers and students as learning opportunities, we can begin to process them differently in the moment and set good examples for those around us.
As we all begin our school years, it is imperative that we put self-care into practice. Self-care and self-compassion need to be strengthened and practiced daily in order to meet the demands of supporting all learners, especially the challenging ones. You can only be loving and compassionate with others when you practice love and compassion for self regularly. It’s our hope you return again and again to this important topic throughout the school year in order to continue to become your happiest healthiest self.