Life as we know it has and continues to change drastically due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Many are living amidst fears for their safety, the safety of loved ones, and future uncertainty, all of which take a toll on emotional health and well-being. Teachers and students alike are making extemporary changes to their personal and professional lives, changes that can interfere with their sense of security, daily structure and emotional health.
The Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence, along with colleagues at Collaborative for Social Emotional and Academic Learning conducted a survey asking teachers to describe the most frequent emotions they feel each day during the COVID-19 crisis. In a span of just three days, over 5,000 U.S. teachers responded with the five most-mentioned feelings: anxious, fearful, worried, overwhelmed and sad. These difficult feelings may stem from the overwhelming demands: navigating the uncharted territory of remote learning and maintaining fidelity to the academic growth of their students, all while simultaneously tending to the needs of their families.
Students, on the other hand, are now expected to focus and learn in often non-conducive learning environments, away from their friends, teachers, academic and behavioral support plans and structures. Some students mourn the loss of momentous moments like graduation, and others are internalizing the feelings and burdens experienced by adults in their lives. As a young and vulnerable population, children are at risk of developing adverse childhood experiences (ACEs), traumatic childhood events that can stem from experiences of violence, neglect and global circumstances like pandemics. The Center For Disease Control and Prevention has linked ACEs to risk for developing chronic health problems like mental illnesses, substance misuse and negative impact on learning readiness and future job opportunities. Meaning, more than ever, the youth of today need coping strategies to help deal with the new emotional circumstances they are faced with. While learning emotional coping strategies does not fix abusive or traumatic environments, it can help give kids a sense of agency with regards to their minds and bodies in situations that are otherwise out of their control.
At Center For Resilience, we understand the importance of helping our teachers and children to build the resilience skills they need to work with difficult circumstances that come their way. Since September, we have been teaching students and teachers how to regulate their emotions, manage stress and anxiety, focus their attention, and build compassion and empathy. Challenging times are when we most need these skills reinforced, which is why we’ve ensured that every student and teacher we work with is receiving the tools, strategies and practices they are familiar with, in customized and personalized online classroom pages.
We are here for our teachers, students and community members, every step of the way, to provide the support and encouragement needed to remain resilient and hopeful during this time! We are offering 10-minute mindfulness sessions every weeknight at 8pm EDT on Zoom, as a way to capture a moment of peace and connect virtually during this time of uncertainty and social distancing. Many teachers are joining us for these calls, and we hope you will too! Save this link to join us, and use the password CFR2020.