How High Is Your Emotional Intelligence?

Emotional Intelligence, as defined by Daniel Goleman (1995) includes:

  • Self-awareness – recognizing your feelings, knowing when you are having an emotion, and naming it.
  • Self-management – ability to make conscious decisions about how to respond to an emotion.
  • Social awareness – recognizing and understanding the feelings that others experience.
  • Social management – ability to form healthy relationships, manage conflicts, motive, and inspire.

We teach, model, and have students practice their Social Emotional Learning and Work-Study Practice skills.  As adults, we must also see these modeled in others to build our toolbox for different situations.  We must name and befriend our emotions and build tools to respond to them.

Habits and Dispositions – Understanding Emotions and Acceptance

Emotions – we all have them!  Something happens, your mind processes it, your body responds, and you behave in response to your mind’s interpretation and body’s reaction to the event.  Emotions aren’t good or bad, positive or negative, but the way we respond to our emotions can be positive or problematic.  Often we don’t have the time to fully understand before reacting.  Our physical response and urge to act happen before we have the time to fully understand the event before we take action.  Accepting emotions, and having strategies with which to respond to them, is essential to cultivating resilience.  Understanding emotions helps accept their existence, recognize where you can influence a situation, and let go of what you can’t control.  Emotions are not just feelings, they are a series of events – they are physiological, cognitive, and behavioral experiences.

In the daily hustle and bustle, it is often hard to remember to assume good intent.  It is important to remember:

Emotions are temporary
You can learn to identify parts of the emotion cycle to interrupt or break it.

Think of emotions as participants in your classroom. When we listen to, understand, and respect our students, in addition to setting clear boundaries and behavioral expectations…when we know our students, not just lay down the rules, they are better behaved and our classroom community is more positive. Treat emotions as characters in your life.

Understanding why we have emotions and how they serve us equals acceptance.  When our emotions are muddled, when we want to feel a different way or know we shouldn’t show our emotions, it is hard to have a clear picture of reality.

Acceptance isn’t resignation.  It means recognizing what is in that moment – identifying what you can change and accepting what you can’t.

Resilient people are accepting.  They accept what they can’t change and put their energies toward what they can.

About the Author

Lucy Canotas is the NHASCD Secretary and Director of Elementary Curriculum for the Timberlane Regional School District.  In 2015, Ms Canotas received the National Education Association’s Teaching Excellence Award.