Ok, I admit it. I adore alliteration. But that’s not the reason I chose this month’s theme (not entirely, at least). It’s because we really do “get by with a little help from [our] friends.”
Studies show that friendship promotes emotional security, ego support, validation, heightened intimacy, and increased self-worth. It also has protective factors. In fact, having a friend moderates the risk of bullying (Healy & Sanders, 2018; Kochel, et al., 2015), and it allows for increased practice in social skills, which leads to higher social competence. Multiple studies show that adults who had close friends in childhood and adolescence report greater life satisfaction, better self-efficacy, and better overall adjustment. Even having an antisocial friend was found to be better than having no friends at all (e.g., Palmen et al., 2011).
Not that we want to advocate antisocial friendships, but that finding highlights how important it is (for children and adults alike) to have a friend to confide in and to validate your self-worth. Loneliness and burnout are related to negative physical and emotional health, so it’s not only important that we encourage our students to create healthy friendships–it’s important that teachers cultivate their friendships, as well.
This month, I will focus on how friends and mentors can help new teachers navigate the first few years and about how the same mentoring can help veteran teachers push past the “blahs.” We will chat about how to cultivate and nurture friendships in and out of the classroom–both for you and for your students. And I will highlight some friends who have helped me along the way. So here’s to Friendship February!