Strengthening Student Resiliency

What is it? More so, why is it important? As a mental health professional, I find that resiliency is the key to everything. Resilient students are characterized by their ability to experience negative and positive emotions during times of difficulty or struggle. Resiliency is important, nay, imperative, for our students to develop and strengthen because it becomes the fuel that propels them through lives inevitable curve balls.

What does resiliency look like? In your classroom, resilient students experience and show “negative” emotions like frustration, sadness, anger, disappointment in moments where they fall short. These yucky feelings co-exist in students with a healthy level of resiliency with a strong grasp on the silver lining, even in the worst of circumstances. Resilient students allow these opposing feelings to chill out together, hang around, but do not let the negative emotions take over or pull into the lead.

The concept of student resiliency fascinates me. How one adverse situation, or a series or adverse situations can have completely opposing effects on my students just astounds me.  A student’s internal thought processes have an incredible effect on their emotional responses. This is true for everyone, not just kids. So, new teacher, please take away from this writing that we all need to tap into this thought process and make sure the external messages we’re feeding our kiddos are building positive internal messages. We need to help build and strengthen each student’s ability to allow the yucky feelings to co-exist with the nice ones. Just because I feel disappointed, doesn’t mean I can’t also feel hopeful. Just because I feel scared, doesn’t mean I can’t also feel brave.

Our feelings are not mutually exclusive. We’ve just been trained to think they are.