Cultivating Emotional Resilience in Educators Book Study

Online Book Study to Help You Remember Your "WHY"

(This will count for 1 Trade Out Day in 2019)

*Remember that you will need to bring your journal/folder to your summative conference as evidence in order to receive credit for the Trade Out Day. Keep notes/activities in your journal.


If we develop habits that nurture relationships with our colleagues, students, parents, and administrators, we strengthen our resilience. There's actually medical research saying that isolation is more dangerous to your physical health than smoking. The beginning of the school year is an ideal time to start, and by putting relationship-building habits in place early, that community can be a source of strength all year long.

We are social beings, and we need each other to thrive. A strong, healthy community can bolster us through challenging moments and bring joy to our lives. When we build community, we can build empathy for each other; and building empathy for each other helps us build community.
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Body Language: Fake It Till You Make It

Watch the TED talk above, then reflect:
  • Cuddy says that "body language has an immediate effect on other people's judgment." Do you agree with this? What have been some examples of this in your life?
  • How does the idea of "fake it till you become it" apply in your context as a teacher or leader? How is this relevant to you?
  • Try power posing before teaching, before attending or running a meeting, or before anything that might make you feel a little nervous. Reflect on the experience and impact.

Body Language: Rewiring your Brain

Researchers say that smiling is good for building community. This strategy is based on the facial feedback theory of emotion, which argues that your brain is always monitoring what's happening in your body and adjusting your mood based on what it notices.

Try this: Slump forward, curl in on yourself, furrow your brow, and frown. Sit like that for 30 seconds or so and then notice whether your mood changed at all. Many people will feel a little gloomy after adopting that posture because our brain has registered our muscle tension, heart rate, posture, breathing, and facial expressions as unhappy.

To try the reverse:
  • When your feeling insecure, stand tall or sight up straight. Broaden your shoulders and elongate your neck. Imagine creating a centimeter or more of space between each vertebra in your back.
  • If you're feeling anxious around someone with whom you don't have any reason to be anxious, lean toward the person.
  • If you're in physical or emotional pain, hug yourself.
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Relational Trust: Among Staff

Read the descriptions of the four key attributes of relational trust from Bryk and Schneider's book, Trust in Schools, and think about the professional communities to which you belong in your school.

Respect Across Differences: Trust is grounded in respect that results from social exchanges. Respectful exchanges are marked by genuine listening to what each person says and by taking these perspectives into account in subsequent actions. When there are disagreements, individuals can feel valued if others respect their opinions. Without interpersonal respect, people will avoid each other, or there may be outward unhealthy conflict.
  • Do you see people acknowledging each other's dignity and ideas? What does this look and sound like?
  • Do you feel that your colleagues listen to you? What evidence do you have that staff listen to each other?

Personal Respect: We have trust in others when we feel they are willing to extend themselves beyond the formal requirements, responsibilities, and roles of a job definition. We trust others who we feel are in alliance with us.
  • When was there a time that a colleague went above and beyond his or her responsibilities?
  • When have you been willing to go beyond your job definition? What did you do?
  • Do you feel that your colleagues care about you professionally and personally? Do you care about them professionally and personally?

Competence: In a school community, we depend on each other to reach our desired outcomes. Attaining those goals rests in great part on others' role competence. If skill, knowledge, and willingness to fulfill a role appear to be absent, trust is diminished. In addition, instances of negligence or incompetence, if allowed to persist, undermine trust.
  • Do you think your colleagues are willing and able to effectively fulfill their job responsibilities?
  • Do you wonder if colleagues question your competence? How might you address this?

Personal Integrity: When it comes to integrity, we need to trust that others will keep their word. Integrity also requires that people are guided by a moral-ethical perspective. Although conflicts frequently arise among competing individual interests within a school, a commitment to children must remain the primary concern.
  • Do people do what they say they'll do? Do you do what you say you'll do?
  • Do people put the interests of students first, especially when tough decisions need to be made? Are the interest of all students taken into account?
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