Tip #7
Teachers Can Activate Resilience

How did you do with your job of being a “resiliency seeker” a few weeks ago? Did you notice students, teachers or even experiences within yourself that demonstrate positive coping and adaptation? As we talked about in Tip 3, resilience is the process of coping and adaptation that occurs overtime. It involves using internal and external strengths to overcome the challenges one is facing.

As teachers, your environment is rich with stories of resilience. And, there is an opportunity for even more! In this tip, I will discuss the ten most talked about strengths that help us overcome the challenges in our lives. In Tip 11, we will talk about how to identify and grow these strengths in your students.

Internal strengths are the things within us that help us stay strong despite adversity. Things like our insight or sense of humor are qualities that help us gain understanding and move forward even when experiencing a high level of stress. External strengths are the people and resources in our environment that help us. This can involve practical support, such as a school social worker who provides shoes to children in a low income school. Social support also involves emotional support; having a teacher who lends a listening ear can make all the difference.

Here are the list of strengths and their definitions. Review these and we will discuss later how to activate and cultivate these qualities and resources in the children and youth in your school. Learning how to activate and cultivate the process of resilience is at the heart of being a teacher.

Ten Strengths that Prompt the Process of Resilience

Social Support The practical and emotional support we give and receive during challenging times.
Communication Expressing thoughts and feelings about the difficulty through verbal and non-verbal forms of communication.
Insight/Empathy The ability to gain understanding into the difficulties faced by a person, family, community, or organization
Boundary Setting The ability and willingness to separate from influences that are unhealthy.
Taking Charge The ability to take action to meet needs.
Creativity/Flexibility Finding multiple solutions to a problem and the ability to adapt to changing circumstances
Humor The ability to be light-hearted and laugh even in the face of difficulty.
Commitment Setting a goal and sticking with it.
Morality/Spirituality Having a belief system that provides direction and strength as we face difficulties.
Appraisal Finding meaning in the struggles we face.

Take Action

Take time to memorize these 10 things. Once you have them internalized within your own thinking, you will start to notice them in the young people in your classes and even, within yourself.

Take just a few minutes to watch this 2 minute video about resilience: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1r8hj72bfGo