Tag Archives: #equityandinclusion


Connection is Everything – Building a Culture of Connectedness Part 2 of 2

Connection is Everything – Building a Culture of Connectedness Part 2 of 2

In Part 1, we discussed the critical importance of nurturing relationships, both inside and outside a school, to support student growth. We learned about the “Make it Right” formula for restoring relationships that don’t work or don’t work as well as one would like. And we considered the importance of role modeling so students learn how to restore relationships and move forward.
What is the one critical thing we need to do before problem solving with someone? We must lower the emotions before we can start problem solving. Here is a strategy that will do just that.
Through Your Lenses:
Perspective training allows people to understand and reflect back someone’s emotional state so they feel heard and understood. With the exercise “Through Your Lenses,” participants learn how to respond rather than react. When one can genuinely see a situation from another point of view and express that through language, the emotional temperature in the listener drops. Then a space is created for the speaker to state his/her point of view. From there solutions can be created.
For example, when an upset teacher approaches another teacher with a problem they want solved, the listener needs to view the request through the lens of the upset person and reflect back what they hear, their concern and/or their commitment, until they feel understood and calm down. That creates a space for the listener/reflector to communicate their point of view. Only then can problem solving begin.
Just like in a very hot classroom at a point where the teacher and students can’t think anymore because of the heat, when the emotional temperature is too high, people can’t problem solve. When people are emotionally upset the thinking part of the brain, the frontal cortex, is out of commission. This is because the survival part of the brain, the amygdala, is in full gear. Bring the emotional temperature down first, then seek to solve the problem.
Nurture the soil (relationships) at your school. Make the soil rich for raising strong, healthy students so they can reach their potential and soar!
If you are interested in learning simple but radical ways to restore relationships and bring down emotional states, as well as an approach to teach your students essential social and emotional skills, email or call us today. Let’s see if a workshop is right for your staff or for your students.
Transform your school with a couple of simple but powerful social/emotional strategies! Email: mb@margaretboersma.com or call 647 881-6958.




Well-Being in Our Relationships Part 1 of 3

Well-Being in Our Relationships Part 1 of 3

One of my grade 3 students said recently, “You mean we can be friends again after we make a mistake?” She was sorry for bullying another child on the playground. She longed to be friends again and thought that would never be possible.

How many of us do that? We make a mistake in our communication and feel like it can never be restored.

At school, administrators and teachers experience on-going stress and overload as we strive to meet the needs of every student. At report card time, we can walk into a staff room and physically sense the tension. It seems that most administrators and teachers experience stress from the end of August to the end of June.

Chronic stress inhibits change. Yet, we must change with our students, with the
digital age, with meeting educational expectations. Sometimes it feels like two plates on a fault line pushing up against one another, the pressure is so intense for so long. Then suddenly everything changes. What or who can we count on when the circumstances seem dire?

Imagine a staff with well-developed social and emotional skills. Did you know…
We can lower the stress thermometer? We must arm teachers with tools that
lower stress and make teaching fun again.

Social and emotional learning skills must address the educator first. Teacher wellness is the key to student success.

Imagine if our relationships worked. Not just amicably but relationships that are uplifting and genuinely caring and supportive.

What if there is a way to disappear hard feelings? To be totally understood by another? Coming from a neutral and open place where one is free to listen and understand? Where one could respond and not react?

These are social and emotional skills that can be taught. Imagine if we all learned these core skills? What would the workplace be like? What would our classrooms be like?

Maybe our students would build each other up, rather than put each other down.
Maybe they wouldn’t abuse drugs and alcohol. Perhaps they would be able to look at
another point of view and really “get” the other person. How amazing would that be?
On the side of the recipient, what would it be like to be totally understood by someone, even though they might not agree with you?

And maybe both students and adults would learn how to make things right because we know, life doesn’t work without trust. What if we could regain trust with another person using a simple strategy? That would be liberating!

My grade 3 students wrote a song with their music teacher during our unit together. I
think it would make a powerful school song. I am thrilled that it was shared at our Quest Conference. Listen to the song here.

It is critical that students understand we are all capable of making mistakes and
that “failure” is a wonderful teacher. And we can all recover from our
failures/mistakes by making it right. People are always changing and their
behavior is not who they are…we must make that distinction for our students.

Let’s equip our teachers in how to address interpersonal issues. Problem solving can
only occur in a clearing. Did you know you can eliminate the emotional reaction?

Then teach these practical skills to students. Everyone feels empowered and validated. A school-wide sense of connectedness provides a culture ripe for learning. The world would be a better place with these lessons learned.

Transform your school with a couple of simple but powerful social/emotional strategies! Email: mb@margaretboersma.com or call 647 881-6958.