Social-Emotional Learning with Ms. Grace
Hello! My name is Grace Miller, and I’m the Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) Interventionist at the Bethlehem Center. Since August of this year, I’ve had the amazing opportunity to connect with students in our Read to Lead Academy on a deeper level. My hope is that through the SEL program, we can give our Beth students the tools they need to be socially and emotionally mature as they move into adulthood.
My job at the Beth is to oversee students who need additional support. I provide individual check-ins on Mondays and four emotional-education groups on Thursdays. It’s not unusual for there to be at least one or two kids who enter our building completely distraught. If a child is overwhelmed, upset, confused, or just needs a break from all of the chaos, my job is to provide a place for them to process their thoughts and feelings in safe and healthy ways.
Since I started seeing these students, the Read to Lead staff has seen improvement in kids who’ve been stereotyped as “problem” children in the past. What our SEL program has proven and is continuing to prove is that teaching a child certain methods that positively impact his or her emotional and social growth, will lead to a dramatic difference in his or her behavior.
During emotional-education groups, I focus on SEL skills and principles. This semester, two groups are currently focusing on learning what emotions are and how to appropriately express them to others. The other two groups are learning how to manage and regulate their emotions. One benefit from these groups is that we not only get to teach children essential social-emotional life skills, but the kids are also learning what it means to support each other.
In the four short months of being in this position, it has been so rewarding to witness the students learning and applying these methods. Even when they are upset, they are learning that in the end, things will be okay. The heart of the SEL program is to help our students learn that even if they can’t control their circumstances, they can control their responses and futures.
I feel so thankful to be a part of an agency that creates a lasting hope for the youth of South Chattanooga. I’m excited to see how the SEL program will continue to impact the kids in our community.
Grace earned her Bachelor’s in Social Work from the University of Tennessee in Chattanooga. She is currently working towards graduating with her Master’s from the University of Tennessee in Knoxville in May 2020.