Education Instructors Aim to Help Teachers

woman stands at screen
Kara Jones. Courtesy of Marilyn Thomas

UACCM’s Kara Jones, education instructor, and Morgan Roch, early childhood development instructor, want to help teachers be emotionally resilient in the classroom. 

They were part of the gathering of educational professionals from around the state at the 2019 Arkansas Early Childhood Education annual conference in Little Rock. The conference’s goal is to provide educators opportunities to learn from each other, allowing teachers to share what works and what does not. As working educators themselves, Jones and Roch know something about the needs of teachers. 

The daily demands, financial strain, and even sickness can be traumatic to a teacher’s health and lead to high turnover in classrooms. Kara Jones wants to change that with lessons from her presentation by giving tips on how to defeat burnout. There were lessons that she also lectures to her own students, both in UACCM’s education and early childhood education programs. Through classes like Introduction to Early Childhood Education and Development and Learning Theories, for example, she is helping her students learn valuable lessons early in their careers. 

woman stands at screen
Morgan Roch. Courtesy of Marilyn Thomas
When under stress, teachers need to implement self-help strategies so that they are best able to teach young children. “You have to care for yourself before you can care for others,” she said. “Children have to feel welcome in your classroom—and you have to have a positive environment in your classroom. Sometimes it’s tough as a teacher to let go of their own experiences.” 

Jones told them about exercises that teachers can make routine in order to improve their daily output such as physical exercise, meditation, and mindfulness. Even simple acts of maintaining friendships make a difference, she explained.

Morgan Roch is helping teachers and aspiring teachers to be mindful of social emotional learning. This topic is her passion, she said, and defines it as the process of developing self-awareness, self-control, and interpersonal skills. She said social emotional learning can include the ability of understanding positive goals, showing empathy to others, establishing positive relationships, and making responsible decisions. 

This is an important lesson for teachers, she explained, because the brain develops in the early years of childhood and is the foundation for all learning later in their lives. In her presentation, she told the attendees that teachers must provide children the appropriate language to identify emotions and implement strategies to manage them. 

She describes this subject as something that teachers themselves need to learn first before they can train children. Teachers have to take extraordinary care in how they carry themselves because their students are always watching them.

“Good news: Kids learn habits by modeling us. And bad news: Kids learn habits by modeling us,” Roch said.

 

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