The concept of empathy has been well explored in many educational circles. The colloquialism, “walk a mile in my shoes,” is a concept which many teachers embrace. Educators strive to take on the perspectives of their students in order to create connections and develop lessons that are engaging; however, as the world of young people becomes increasingly complex due to current events such as the COVID-19 pandemic, enacting empathy may present a difficulty.
For an educator who hopes to see all students succeed and wishes to prepare students for future success, empathy is not optional. The most perfectly designed lesson delivered with impeccable pedagogical execution will not reach students if they are disconnected. Student engagement depends on students’ relationships with their teachers more than ever. The key to building strong relationships is the ability of the educator to know individual students on an authentic level. This means developing an understanding of student culture, home environment, interests, and values outside of the classroom. Educators also must explore learning preferences, strengths, and challenges within the classroom. Getting to know students on this level may sound like an insurmountable task. In this edLeader Panel, we’ll discuss a range of strategies that offer opportunities for success.
This edLeader Panel will be of interest to K-12 teachers, school and district leaders focused on student support services, school counselors, school psychologists, and school social workers. There will be time for questions at the end of the presentation.