NCEC Conference
Proposal of Keynote Topics 

January 2022

Unity and diversity partnership as heart



Healing, Resilience and

Emotional Health Practices

"While every household has a medicine cabinet full of bandages, ointments, and pain relievers for treating basic physical maladies, we have no such medicine cabinet for the minor psychological injuries we sustain in daily life...and sustain them we do, just as frequently as we do physical ones." (Emotional First Aid, 2013)


Teachers have always needed to know and practice protective strategies in their social emotional first aid kits to manage the daily stressors of working on the front lines of a human-service oriented profession. That need has never been greater given the massive increase in uncertainty and unpredictability in the teaching profession and in one's personal life due to COVID. 

This session is dedicated to helping teachers engage and experience the process and practices of healing so to learn how to re-establish their well-being in the aftermath of COVID. 


We know from the research that teaching is emotional labor.

It takes incredible effort to manage and metabolize strong emotions like anger, shame, guilt, anxiety, and overwhelm, and generate and stoke positive emotions like joy, hope, and compassion. 

Stress significantly diminishes a teacher's capacity to regulate their negative emotions and cultivate positive emotions. Teachers who leave the profession often cite their inability to cope with their own emotional reactions to loss of control, unpredictability, and lack of purpose in their teaching as the primary reason for burnout.

In this session, teachers will learn and engage mind and body practices with origins in healing and emotional health. Teachers will experience practices rooted in cognitive and affective neuroscience and social and behavioral sciences where they learn how to metabolize the stress of our profession, manage negative energy, protect themselves from the burnout cycle, and find joy and hope in teaching.

Learning Objectives

In this highly experiential session, teachers will: 


  • Explore the core elements of the teacher burnout cycle and learn how to protect one's self from the 2 paths to burning out.

  • Explore the (4) core elements of the teacher healing cycle and learn the #1 strategy for instantly regulating the emotional stress of anxiety.

  • Learn the 3 basics tenets of "mindfulness," how mindfulness helps teacher mental health, and how mindful awareness can help teachers restory stress, restore emotional energy, and reclaim their connect to their calling to teach when it is tested the most. 

  • Engage light yoga and mindful movement to explore how healing originates in connecting with and moving with the body.


  • Put into practice the Teacher Infinite Well-Being ModelTto learn how to enact a process of self- C.A.R.E that re-stories stress, restores emotional groundeness in stressful moments, and reclaims their connection with their students. 


Hand choosing happy smile face paper cut

The Teacher Joy Impact

"Our positive emotions are contagious. When we are feeling pleasant emotions, our students can't help but feel the same way. These positive feelings help our students broaden and build their thinking and build important resources they need to be successful learners."

(Jennings, 2015, Mindfulness for Teachers)


Our energy as teachers is contagious and influential!

Teachers who teach from a positive mindset create elevated classroom climates where students feel invited to take risks, enjoy learning, and push past their fears of failure. 

While the reality of teaching, and now teaching in the aftermath of COVID, demand so very much of a teacher's mental and emotional health and energy, current research in teacher well-being confirms that teachers can learn how to metabolize stress as an invitation to create more energetic states of hope, happiness, well-being, and positivity. 

Learning Objectives

In this highly experiential session, teachers will: 


  • Discover what the research says about how a teacher's positive attitude impacts student learning, student/teacher relationships, and equity consciousness.

  • Learn about the neuroscience of "hardwiring happiness" (Dr. Rick Hanson) and how to train it.

  • Explore the 2 biggest impacts of positivity in the classroom setting and how positive energy states are the building blocks of teacher and student well-being.

  • Engage (2) mindfulness and neuro-science based guided meditation practices that calm the mind, regulate the nervous system, and "hardwire happiness" (Dr. Rick Hanson).



  • Put into practice the Teacher Infinite Well-Being ModelTto learn how to enact a process of self- C.A.R.E that re-stories stress to create greater perspective-taking, restores joy and a positive mindset, and reclaims their ability to witness student behavior from a vantage point of curiosity and compassion.

Heart and brain connected by a knot on a

Teacher Social and Emotional Well-Being

Mirroring and Modeling Our Well-Being to Students

"When teachers prioritize SEL there is more effective classroom management, and when teachers grow a personal SEL practice they experience less stress and burnout, so focusing on SEL is a win-win for both students and teachers."

(Srinivasan, 2019, SEL Every Day)


We know that teaching is a highly emotional profession that can produce toxic stressors for teachers and students. We also know that teachers need support and experiences designed to help them stoke their own SEL practice so they can truly be present for the students they are called to teach. 

Toxic stress can manifest in many ways in our classrooms, and it has a corrosive impact on  student-teacher relationships. Core to any positive classroom climate and relationship between teachers and students is trust and safety. 

"In any close relationship, connection means becoming a PART of the communication in that moment. By being present for what is happening as it is happening, attuning to the inner experience of what is going on with the other person-- not just their external behaviors but actually resonating  

with their internal experience--

a trust is born." 

Male Teacher with Students

It is vital for teachers to recognize and respond to the manifestations of toxic stress to help students build social emotional resilience. According to the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL), “social and emotional learning (SEL) is the process through which children and adults understand and manage emotions, set and achieve positive goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain positive relationships, and make responsible decisions.” Teachers who EMBODY SEL and engage students in SEL practices, support students in developing sustained resilience.


We know that teacher can learn to strategically “metabolize” or manage stress to cultivate core competencies of SEL: self-awareness, emotional regulation, and compassionate connections. Teacher mental, social, and emotional health are critical to learning and creating safe classroom spaces, and it must be continuously stoked for effectively engaging students in the development of their own SEL.

Learning Objectives

In this highly experiential session, teachers will: 


  • Explore and enhance their personal social emotional learning (SEL) skills to deepen self-awareness, emotional resilience, and social awareness.

  • Explore origins of trauma and attachment theory to gain deeper awareness of how trauma and toxic stress influence perception, thoughts, emotions, and one's capacity to self-regulate behavior.

  • Learn about the toxic stress impact on the brain, the body, and the emotional life of a teacher and their ability to have trusting relationships with their students. 

  • Learn Learn how modeling teacher social and emotional well-being supports “mirror neurons” that help youth regulate their minds and relax their body’s reaction to toxic stress.


  • Practice and engage (2) body calming exercises that will activate the parasympathetic nervous system (calming center of the body) while slowing down the thoughts in the mind to create space for SEL to take root and become actualized.


  • Put into practice the Teacher Infinite Well-Being ModelTto learn how to leverage stress as a prime opportunity to stoke core competencies of SEL (self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills, responsible decision making).

  • Explore classroom based SEL strategies designed to help students practice SEL competencies in their lives.