As students finish their school year and head into summer, they are experiencing a roller coaster of emotions. They prepare for exams, enroll in summer camps, say goodbye to friends, plan to visit Dad, and desire the freedom of summer. Obstacles to those goals, though, can get in the way such as having a baseball game the day before your exam, being denied entry into a summer camp because your audition was poor, not being able to say goodbye to your friend because he leaves suddenly without talking to you, accepting Dad’s last minute changes to your summer plans, or actually receiving a list chores for the summer. Students experience difficult decisions and circumstances this time of year, and they encounter unexpected obstacles or events that produce a wide range of emotions.
In order to teach the understanding of these emotions many educators are turning to Daniel Goleman’s book about Emotional Intelligence and discussing it in advisories, homerooms, and general classrooms. Overall Goleman reminds us of how the brain functions, how we perceive and react physically to those emotions, and how we as a society need more self control and compassion for others. While the book itself is a huge task for students to read in its entirety, portions of it are very comprehensible for middle and high school students and can produce great discussions about decision making and current circumstances in their lives.
I highly recommend the usage of Goleman’s book or his accompanying age appropriate materials for your students. I have even found it helpful to me personally as a teacher as I prepare for exams, evaluations, grades, comments, school parties, and those last minute perfect words. Have a great end to your year, and may you pause, breathe, think, observe, and respond with clarity, care, and emotional intelligence.