In June, while our students were enjoying their first week of summer, TMH teachers and staff became the learners for the day during a training in the RULER approach to social-emotional learning. We were joined by teachers and staff from Thurgood Marshall Academy Lower School, a public school in Harlem that has become a national model for the implementation of this approach. We settled in, notepads and pens in hand, to learn directly from RULER developers, Dr. Marc Brackett and Dr. Robin Stern, from the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence.
Incorporating group exercises and pair activities, the instructors kept the training interactive and focused on practical implementation of the RULER principles. With personal anecdotes and humor Dr. Brackett broke down the steps of RULER -- recognize, understand, label, express, and regulate -- and we explored various real-life scenarios. Dr. Stern used this quote from Theodore Roosevelt -- “nobody one cares how much you know until they know how much you care” -- to remind us that emotional intelligence is essential to building trust and empathy in all of our relationships.
That we shared this training with our Thurgood Marshall colleagues made the day an even richer learning experience, with both groups sharing challenges, questions, suggestions and successes with one another. We explored how we can all take the universal principles within the RULER approach and make them relevant to our own teaching environments -- whether in the classroom, on the playground, in the gym, or at home. The collaborative spirit of the day is especially exciting since, starting in September, we will be partnering with Thurgood Marshall to incorporate The Meeting House into their after school program. Once a week, Meeting House teachers will work with a group of their students in Harlem to help them continue to build their foundation of social and emotional skills. We are thrilled with this opportunity to share the the Meeting House magic with more children.
We all came away from our “Emotionally Intelligent Day” having learned something new. Here are some of the top insights from the training.
“The opportunity to hear directly from Marc Brackett made it more than just a document.” - Lucy, 2nd Grade Teacher at TMAL
“I came away with a better sense of this as a holistic approach. I can apply it in my family first and then come into school better for my students.” - Danica, 4th grade
“It’s something I can take with me. A life tool.” - Raquel, 1st Grade Teacher
“It was a reminder for me to be more mindful of the energy I project. Another big takeaway for me was the idea that taking meta moments is helpful, but when they’re too often that means there’s a bigger issue.” - Jason from TMH
“Be a scientist, not a judge.” - Megan Corridan, TMH
“You can’t be emotionally intelligent unless you’re culturally responsive.” - Virginia Buchan, Visual Arts teacher, TMH
“After the session, I came up with an idea for the incoming Kindergartners to create mini mood meters as a reminder.” Lionel, PE teacher, TMALs
“Marc Brackett’s stories make it so real for everyone. We’re not talking about something in a book.” - Dawn
Now more than ever we all need practice in Emotional Intelligence. We are especially pleased to be offering this training to parents at our annual symposium on October 26th with Dr. Robin Stern, Associate Director of the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence. Join us at the Churchill School for "Emotionally Intelligent Parenting."