Growing Your Emotional IQ
Do you notice when a student is feeling listless, anxious, or depressed? How do you handle one group of students picking on another? And how can you make every one of your students feel safe while they’re in your classroom?
These are vital questions to making a difference in the classroom, and the answers will have far-reaching social, emotional, and academic impacts for students. That’s because student success is closely linked to social and emotional learning (SEL).
As Educators, we must make it a priority to invest in our own emotional intelligence before we can incorporate SEL into our lessons and classroom activities. Emotional IQ helps you develop SEL skills in your students and be better prepared to attend to your own emotional needs at the same time.
What Is Emotional IQ?
Sometimes simply abbreviated as EI or EQ, emotional intelligence is the ability to gauge, understand, and manage your emotional responses. Education is a uniquely emotional occupation. It is normal, almost necessary, for teachers to become invested in students and to care deeply both about their academic performance and success in life.
For many Educators, this commitment and devotion to the profession can lead to long hours and significant emotional work.
Growing your emotional intelligence is a way to manage:
- Stress and anxiety: When you aren’t aware of your own emotional needs, it’s more challenging to govern your stress and anxiety responses. After all, low-level anxiety can be difficult to notice — and harder still to attribute to a specific cause. This is especially true in the era of COVID-19, where teachers are placed under enormous strain (and will likely be coping with the trauma of that strain for years to come).
- Peer relationships: Teachers need other teachers, both for professional growth and emotional support. Growing your own emotional intelligence will make those interpersonal bonds stronger, more helpful, and more fulfilling.
- Burnout: Teaching can be emotionally draining. Educators who lack awareness or the skills necessary to emotionally recharge may end up burning out faster and more completely. Giving yourself recovery time is absolutely essential to avoiding burnout — and knowing when you need that time often comes down to emotional intelligence.
What Are the Benefits of High EQ?
High EQ will not automatically lead to career growth or teaching success. Nor does a strong emotional intelligence mean you’ll be happier or more fulfilled. However, emotional awareness can make your career easier, and a high emotional intelligence is absolutely essential for achieving the kind of growth that modern educators are expected to model.
That growth can only occur when teachers feel safe and valued. That’s why educational institutions are encouraged to place an emphasis on creating environments that focus on the emotional well-being of teachers, staff, and administrators.
Teachers who display stronger emotional intelligence often also have:
- More energy: Managing your emotions successfully means you’re getting more sleep and you’re less stressed. That can lead to more energy in the classroom, where students need the best you have to offer.
- Better relationships with students: When Educators feel safe and supported, they’re able to form stronger bonds with students. Plus, an engaged student body can energize lesson plans and improve retention in the classroom. As a result, students will learn more and learn better.
- Improved job satisfaction: When teachers are able to work in an environment that encourages taking breaks, managing emotions, and developing emotional intelligence, they generally feel more valued. This can all lead to improved job satisfaction (and, as a result, lower turnover and less burnout). Less staff turnover also improves the student experience.
Benefits to Students
Likewise, emotional intelligence is an absolutely essential competency for Educators who want to incorporate social and emotional learning into their curriculum. Educators must have stability in regards to their own emotional well-being before they can help students navigate SEL challenges.
A Necessary Step for SEL Instruction
Learning to grow your emotional intelligence is vital for Educators who want to improve SEL in their schools. After all, students are learning social and emotional behaviors at school every day. It’s up to teachers to make sure those lessons are healthy and productive ones.
But Educators can only accomplish that goal when they, themselves, feel emotionally valued and safe.
New Clerisy workshops are designed to help teachers, administrators, and educators develop their SEL skills — starting with their own emotional intelligence! Learn more our SEL Workshops – Empowering Champions – for educators including, “Growing Your Emotional Intelligence,” and master SEL strategies.