Are you working with someone who is struggling?

Many educators are returning from the break feeling refreshed, empowered, and energized. You can continue cultivating and coaching those joyful emotions. This will help

Some educators are returning from the break feeling stressed, sad, or fearful. You might be tempted to smother those feelings by exuding positivity and repeating sentiments like, “it’s all going to be okay!” 

My advice: Don’t. 

Repressing emotions doesn’t work–they’ll come out somewhere, somehow. You and your colleagues need the space and tools to care for yourselves and each other. Everyone needs and deserves space to process their current experience so they can move forward. 

My advice: 

  • Get in touch with your emotions and support others to get in touch with their own. Try my Get to Know and Emotion Cycle exercise from the Onward Workbook as a starting point. 
  • Adopt an empowering mantra to say every day and return to in moments of challenge. Some ideas to get you going:
    • “My anchor holds, despite the storms.”
    • “I choose hope on this journey.” 
    • “Whatever happens, I can handle it.” 
    • “I am brave.” 
  • Don’t sugarcoat. When you’re in conversation with someone who is struggling, be open and present (and do the same for yourself, when you’re feeling low). This might sound like:
    • “This is hard.”
    • “Whatever you’re feeling is valid.” 
    • “I believe in you and I have your back.” 
    • “What do you need me to know so I can best support you?” 

This will help you coach sadness, and this will help you coach anger.

And remember, when times are tough, we may be in the same storm but we’re not in the same boat. Power and privilege come in many forms and each layer entitles those who possess it greater comforts, access, and security. Let’s not only be mindful of power dynamics but also actively work to equalize them.