Reader Feature: Building a Playlist for PD

Sep 27, 2021

Last fall, in anticipation of a dark, screen-filled winter ahead with a side of holiday loneliness, I built myself a Playlist. Not of songs, but a literal PLAY List: things to turn to when I needed a joy boost. Sidenote: Elena and I even talked about it on her podcast!

More recently, one of our favorite Together Friends and Fans, MaryKate, a teacher in Fairfax Public Schools in Virginia, used this idea to build a professional development session for her teachers. As she told us, “Basically I got really curious about how resilience is built – like what happens between bad stuff happening and that same bad stuff actually making you both softer and stronger?”

The basic framework of the PD was:

  • Defining resilience
  • Learning and practicing a strategy for cultivating individual resilience: The Playlist
  • Learning and practicing a strategy for cultivating collaborative resilience

MaryKate adapted our Playlist using this resource from CNVC. She offered the following framework:

“When I feel ____________, I need a boost of ________________.”

From there, she used our list as a jumping off point for her own brainstorming about what hard feelings she tends to struggle with most, and what actually helps her meet those needs: “I used to think when I felt overwhelmed I needed a boost of productivity…but that is NOT what I need. When I am overwhelmed, I need comfort. I can feel the strength and softness I have been seeking.”

Below is a modified version of MaryKate’s PD template, and we’ve also made you a downloadable Playlist template of your very own here. Looking for more? Try our Teacher Self-Care Menu.

MaryKate had fifth-grade students give this a try as well: “They loved naming how they wanted to feel and planning actions to create that positive feeling. They put little stickies on their desks with notes like: ‘Confident: raise my hand, help a friend, share a success.’ We would check in at the end of the day to see if it worked, and continue practicing and tweaking.”

MaryKate generously shared a few slides she used to lead the staff PD.

Articulating the Process

Resilience PD Agenda

How about you? How are you building resilience for yourself, your staff, and your students during this challenging time? Do you need to create a Playlist? I would love to see! You can share with me over here!