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How 10 Teachers Are Supporting Social and Emotional Learning While Teaching from Home

How 10 Teachers Are Supporting Social and Emotional Learning While Teaching from Home

One of the most valuable tools an educator can have in their teacher toolbox is the ability connect and respond to their students. Classroom experts know that learning goes so far beyond what can be taught from a text book, and supporting students as they develop social and emotional learning skills is critical to their wellbeing and success.

When the COVID-19 pandemic began to shut down schools, educators everywhere rose to the challenge, continuing to teach from home, and offering their support to students however possible. But when you’re no longer in a classroom together, how can you support social-emotional learning with your students? What works best? We recently asked teachers on our Facebook page to share their words of advice when it comes to SEL while distance teaching. Here are some of their responses:

1. “To help make this a less stressful on the kids. I hold weekly Zoom sessions with my students. This has been extremely helpful in encouraging communication with their peers and with me as their teacher. But it has also encouraged us all to become closer as we sympathize and empathize with everyone’s situation whether it’s good or sad news. We talk about the latest makeup tutorials and Tik Tok dances to having a watch party to crying over and comforting someone who has lost a loved one or someone who just needs to be heard.”
– Alynn P.

2. “I post mindful videos every Monday to encourage self-awareness for my students.”  
– Lynette P.

3. “Meetings one on one every other week and large groups meets twice a week. Our school counselor pops in chat with along with everything I am doing.”
– Kathy M.

4. “I am using Google forms, question 1 is name but two is just about how they are! 2. How are you? A. Awesome B. Okay! C. Blah D. Call me. I email all the ‘Blahs’ and call who is needed. I end each form with an open-end area for comments. I get everything from ‘I’m struggling…’ to ‘I like cheese.’”
– Jennifer A.

5. “I’m writing each of them personal letters. I’m hoping they feel seen and valued during this time.”
– Kelly V.

6. “I have been hosting weekly calls with my classes and at the end of the call we share one thing we are group or something we found happiness in that week. Students can share with the whole class or just with me by using the chat function. It's a great way to help get my students in a positive mindset before ending our call. I have also been posting weekly videos and checking in with my families, and giving updates on important information for the week. It's an easy way for my families to feel connected to their teacher without having to be on a schedule, they can view and comment on the video whenever they want.”
– Laura A.

7. “I have weekly hangouts with games and competitions to try to get kids engaged and check in on them in a low stress way! It’s been fairly successful!”
– Bekka H.

8. “Starting every conversation with a check-in on how they are doing, not about school. Working hard to ensure students know that their mental and physical health is more important to me than algebra and then meeting them where they are at in terms of academic needs. They likely won't remember much content from classes right now, but they will remember how we made them feel. Let's humanize the experience as much as possible.”
– Amber D.

9. “I send my students a daily question every morning to check in with. Then I have a Zoom hotline open every morning and afternoon. This is where they can just jump on and chat or get help with homework.  I have many students that pop on just to talk because they are home alone and just want someone to interact with. We do a weekly class Zoom meeting.  My students love to play games, hang out, and visit.  We laugh, share stories, tell about our successes and our struggles.  I am so thankful that we have this technology.  I also do weekly phone calls so that we can chat one on one too.  I try to make as many check-ins with my students as I can. I want them to know that I am here for them.”
– Sarah N.

10. “I have a daily question for my [high school] students to use as a quick check in. Sometimes they are content related, but most often they are ways for them to interact with each other about their ‘favorites.’ It lets us see what each other likes or has never heard of, sharing bits of our lives while we can't share space.”
– Jane S.

Even when students and teachers can’t be together in the classroom to support each other during this time of stress, it’s so inspiring to see the genuine and creative ways educators are finding to connect with their students. Interested in learning more about how to address and support student mental health in your classroom? Check out this episode of the Edmentum Podcast on student mental health during COVID-19 with Andrew Baxter, of the Albert Mental Health Literacy Project.'s picture
McKenna Wierman

McKenna Wierman studied Journalism at the University of Mississippi, and has worked with Edmentum since June 2016. She currently serves as a Digital Marketing Specialist, and believes that empowered teachers are the key to successful students.