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How Have You Led with Empathy?

Today, we ask you to consider: why should we lead with empathy? This blog post is the second in a series (the first post is here ) that can help you consider, step by step, how to build a supportive environment that leads with empathy at your district or school. After exploring your students’ individual experiences, reflecting on the power of empathy in instruction is a natural next step.

We know what’s at stake: reopening, recovery, and accelerating student learning. Instruction rooted in empathy will be critical for positive outcomes in and out of the classroom. The importance of trust cannot be understated across the school community — between a leader and teacher, teacher and student, students with each other, the list goes on. Empathy is a relationship driver, laying the groundwork for open dialogue and shared understanding. It also creates a culture of safety — key for optimal learning — putting students at ease while nurturing skills for emotion management. As we build culturally responsive instruction, seeing and practicing empathy in action is a must. An empathy lens must lead our work to be inclusive and attentive to the different needs of students. Empowering students to be learning leaders requires confirming that we care and value them as people, not performers.

Your community is full of wisdom already. Individually or in a team meeting, consider examples of where empathy occurred this past year:

  • When did we support educators and students in reconnecting to school? How did we care for their needs?
  • When did we offer instructional flexibility and options?
  • When did we promote students building relationships with caring adults?
  • What strategies did you use to ensure:
    • students develop and maintain relationships with a caring adult in school?
    • relational trust and respect are established between teachers and students, among students, and with families (online and in-person)?
    • teaching and learning are personalized and communal?

Connect With Us
We’d love to hear from you to know how these conversations go. Please join us for a Conversation Lab by registering here. Our conversation will explore components of a protocol for identifying and prioritizing underserved student populations with particular attention to understanding student and family experiences, and practices that build and strengthen relationships. You can register here. Feel free to also reach out to us directly atpartnerships@newteachercenter.org.

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