Do You Really See Me: Understanding and Enhancing Educators' Recognition and Response to Middle School Students' Social and Emotional Needs

Date

2024

Authors

Gonzales, Roseann

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Abstract

This qualitative multi-case study engaged the testimonios of three educators who openly shared their social and emotional experiences from their middle school years. The central inquiry, "What valuable insights can you offer from your middle school experiences to help other educators recognize and respond to the social and emotional needs of their students" directed their reflection on their journeys. The primary focus was to investigate how these experiences can offer help into recognizing and addressing the social and emotional concerns of other educator's students, explicitly utilizing the Ethics of Care theoretical framework as the basis for their evolution. This framework centers on building nurturing connections with teachers and staff and is a blueprint for fostering encouraging connections with students. Demonstrating care through modeling can foster mutual respect among teachers, staff, and students, as Noddings (2005) suggested.

Through data collection, open coding, theme coding, overall analysis, and interpretation, the results created a conceptual framework termed "The Chain of Social and Emotional Trauma." This framework offered another lens to visualize the pathway of emotional understanding, enabling educators to identify and address potential struggles faced by students.

The insights from testimonios shared in two off campus sessions sparked candid reflections on the educators' experiences. Common themes, including vulnerability, trauma, silent suffering, coping mechanisms, resiliency, and social and emotional resources, emerged with profound sincerity. These themes served as inspiration for constructing the conceptual framework, offering a transition into the potential struggles and challenges middle school students may be facing today. This study was meant to increase awareness among educational leaders, empowering them to strategically plan future initiatives to meet students' needs through advocacy and implementing school-based mentorship programs.

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Keywords

Adolescent emotions, Mentors, Middle School, Middle School mental health, School-based mentorship, Social and Emotional Learning

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Department

Educational Leadership and Policy Studies