Recognize. Empathize. Acknowledge.

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Recognize. Empathize. Acknowledge.

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Here we are at the beginning of another school year.

Students have gathered their supplies. The kids walk into their schools to drop off their goodies and moan about being back at school.

Yet, ten steps in they see a friend.

They scream one another’s name, run, with arms flailing, down the hall to greet one another for the first time in ten weeks!

Well, that scenario described my middle school daughter’s greeting.

My high school aged son, when seeing a classmate, may just raise his eyebrows and say, “Hey.”

Either way, they’ll express emotion albeit with varying degrees of intensity.

School is not just about the book learin’.

The kids reconnect with friends, acquaintances, and future “besties”.

School is social experience.

What of the growned-ups?

Classrooms have been organized and bulletin boards “bulletined”.

Teachers are anxious about the mix of kids they will get.

They already begin to worry about how many can tie their own shoes, which ones will need emotional support, or if they’ll even graduate.

All levels of educators worry about their kiddos.

Administrators at school sites and district offices have concerns, too.

They worry about how many teachers can tie their own shoes, which ones will need emotional support, …

The shoe-tying thing is not true (in most cases), but the reality is that all the players in the educational experience are anxious, have concerns for themselves and others, and will need the support of those around them.

Recognize. Empathize. Acknowledge. 

Recognize the possibility that fear of the unknown resides in your students, staff, and yourself.

Empathize with the concerns of others.

Acknowledge their discomfort with a smile, a note on their desk, or a corny high-five.

The next few weeks are full of anticipation accompanied by a host of emotions.

Be aware of the impact those emotions may have on the behavior of your students, colleagues, and administrators.

Try to see it from their point of view.

Connect with them on a level that you are comfortable with.

School is a social experience.

Recognize. Empathize. Acknowledge.

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