Executive Extra

Monthly content focused on leadership exclusively for the Executive members of NAA.

Living, Teaching and Embracing 'YOU MATTER'

We spend our days helping students understand they matter and they can make a lasting impact on their communities and the world. But the success of students starts with us living it.

This past summer, NAA's Executive member webinar series SEL for Kids Starts with the Adults dove into the reports that support social and emotional learning in afterschool, offered tips for choosing SEL curriculum and guided leaders in how to assess their own emotional intelligence quotient, or EQ, and determine next steps to grow.

In the webinar Living, Teaching and Embracing "YOU MATTER", sponsored and presented by Kristin Lorey, Director of Education, Every Monday Matters, participants discovered how much and why they matter—to themselves, their relationships, their communities and their students—and why it's important to remember and practice this message while leading students. Participants also learned how to stay grounded in their passion, purpose and positivity as we model healthy relationships and Social and Emotional practices with our students.

Lorey introduces the webinar by providing an overview of Every Monday Matters as well as covering the basics of social and emotional learning, as defined by CASEL, and how SEL competencies are tied to the webinar topic.

How do social and emotional learning and the concepts of "YOU MATTER" go together?

Every Monday Matters incorporates three lenses:

  • I matter.
    How does this apply to me? How do I think, feel, make choices? Who am I and how can I be my best self?
  • You matter.
    How do I build and maintain constructive relationships? How do I appreciate and help others?
  • We matter.
    Team and Community.
    How do we work together? How do we set goals and accomplish things together? How do I fulfill my role as a global citizen and together in service?

When asked how SEL impacts their student—or how they hope it impacts their students—50% of webinar attendees responded with "building skills such as empathy, compassion and teamwork."

How do we teach SEL?

  • Free-standing lessons designed to enhance students' social and emotional competence.
  • Teaching practices such as cooperative learning and project-based learning, promoting SEL.
  • Integration of SEL into academic curriculum.
  • SEL as a programwide initiative that creates an SEL-friendly climate and culture.
  • Modeling SEL for students.

"When you teach social and emotional learning, whether you're delivering a lesson on empathy or integrating SEL into academic curriculum, but then act in a nonempathetic way to a student or staff member—and students see you doing that—what you just taught goes out the window," said Lorey.

"Kids are quick and very smart. They start to understand that what you're doing is what really matters."

At the heart of SEL is the belief that WE MATTER—our students matter, our relationships matter and other people matter. In addition, at the heart of teaching SEL is remembering that WE as educators MATTER.

When Lorey asked webinar participants to assess when they last thought about how much they matter, 50% responded with "in the past week," while only 17% responded with "in the past hour."

Lorey notes educators often share they can't remember the last time they thought about how much they matter.

"We're in jobs that ask a ton of us," said Lorey. "Our students really have a wide array of needs and challenges, so it's so important for us to sit down and remember that we matter."

Lorey also shared some Every Monday Matters activities youth can get involved in, such as Meditation for Mindfulness, Breathe It In, a Hero's Journey, and asking others to provide feedback on your best strengths and character traits.

Way to keep showing yourself you matter include journaling, meditation, exercise, spending time outside, time with family and friends, gratitude exercises, therapy, serving others and more.

Lorey prompts participants to remember that when we fill ourselves up, we can model, teach and coach our students even better, and we're doing something good for ourselves.

"More than anything, I hope you take away from this webinar today that you matter—and that you can make a difference and you ARE making a huge difference with your students," said Lorey.

"As someone who has been in afterschool and managed afterschool staff for years, I hope that this was a good reminder that you matter, because it's so easy to get lost in the shuffle of all the things going on."

NAA Executive members have access to the webinar in its entirety.