We're thinking of you and want to support you any way we can as you support your students!
We're all under a tremendous amount of stress right now as we navigate this pandemic, professionally and personally. The families and students we serve are feeling the stress, too. Those of us entrusted with community leadership positions: first responders, health care professionals, religious leaders, and teachers share the responsibility of caring for others at the same time caring for our families and ourselves.
Interactive Journals can be a way to stay connected with your students and provide an outlet for them to share what's on their mind, even remotely.
Image by Jody Bader www.nextstepsprojectglad.com
“While we minimize our physical connections, it is essential that we maximize our emotional connections. We can all help our loved ones every day, electronically.” Gov. Jay Inslee
Consider setting up electronic journals. You might try google docs or creating a free email account dedicated to journaling with students. This ensures students (with internet connections) stay connected with you and have a place to share their feelings and experiences during this time. You may choose to suggest a prompt to guide the conversation, or leave it unprompted. Students choose to write about whatever topic they wish. Remember, children experiencing trauma react differently. Some may want to talk about it with a trusted person, some may not want to revisit the trauma by talking about or it dwelling on it, particularly if someone they love is ill or has passed. They may prefer to write about the fun video game they played yesterday or the butterfly they saw out the window that morning.
Respond authentically, with empathy and with factual information. Encourage, support, and ensure them that you are there for them as you've always been. Often, we end our post with a question to encourage them to reply.
Quick Tip: You could also "assign" students to do an electronic journaling activity with someone they love whom they can't see right now, like a best friend or a grandparent.
Thanks for reading,
Sara and Jody
P.S. If you want more information about the Interactive Journal, it's the first strategy we cover in this spring's online GLAD® PD we're calling Acceleration! During this 6-week online PD we will dive into 6 focus strategies chosen specifically to support planning and prepping at home! Clock hours available! Sign-up now!