Season 5, Episode 12 of the FocusED School Leadership Podcast with Guest Wendy Turner

by | May 1, 2024 | 0 comments

6 min read

Social and Emotional Learning for Adults with Wendy Turner

This is Season 5, Episode 12 of FocusED, and it features our guest, Wendy Turner. Wendy talks to us about adult burn-out, SEL strategies to use on yourself, what leaders can do differently to support teachers…and much more.


Wendy Turner Brings a Tons of Experience to FocusED Listeners

Wendy Turner is an educator, author, and teacher-leader who is passionate about social-emotional learning. Wendy currently teaches third grade in Wilmington, DE, and works to build capacity in others around social-emotional learning practices in schools. 

She was the 2017 Delaware Teacher of the Year, a Presidential Excellence in Teaching Science awardee, an NEA Global Learning Fellow, an Outstanding STEM Educator in Delaware, a Delaware Compassion Champion, and served as the teacher leader on the Delaware State Board of Education for two years. 

Wendy now facilitates professional learning on social emotional learning both locally and nationally and regularly contributes to education blogs, articles, and podcasts. She is the author of Embracing Adult SEL, published by Routledge in 2023. You can follow Wendy on X: @mrswendymturner.

FocusED Show Notes with Wendy Turner

Judgment is an insufficient use of resources for living your life. ~ Wendy Turner

Wendy talks about her time in the classroom and how she needed a break before coming back to the classroom. When she left, she felt burnt out, which led her to write her book about adult SEL. One thing that matters about this book is that it’s a self-help book for us to implement SEL for ourselves as well as others. 

She tells us that she shares a lot of her personal life in the book to relate to readers who want to learn more about implementing SEL for themselves. 

Joe asks Wendy if she thinks she could not have burnt out so fast if she had SEL when she left education before coming back to her current position. Don’t miss what she says about having some pieces of the practices but not all. 

Don’t miss what Wendy says about having a “box of energy.” 

Wendy talks about using empathy to take action–she calls this Curious, Connected, and Active. You have to check this framework out in the book.

T.J. points out Chapter 3 from the book and the foundation of SEL being self-awareness. You have to hear how Wendy responds to this using information from that chapter on page 49. 

Wendy addresses the shame that we often feel and how to let it go, including our own pessimism about things that we can’t control. 

Don’t miss what she says about her core values and how she uses them to make quality decisions. 

Joe asks about barriers, roadblocks, etc, to do this work well. Wendy advises that it takes time–1 to 3 months. Try five new things in that time period. 

 Wendy talks about positively present as a place that she goes for inspiration. 

 She mentions a case study on SEL that she finds fascinating because it says that we need to start with adult SEL if we’re going to implement it successfully with our students. 

 Explicit, sustained, and embedded–these are the principles of implementing any professional learning that we want to stick, including SEL. 

 Wendy calls for SEL coaches in every school. 

 Joe asks Wendy to unpack SEL circles, which she does using CASEL practices. 

 Wendy says that teachers need practical, useful strategies that they can use right away. She talks about her next book, which is going to be an SEL playbook. Teachers know the what, but they need help with the how

 Preparing teachers to support social and emotional learning

 We are the only ones who can inform ourselves about ourselves. ~ Wendy Turner

 Even on our worst day, we can close with something positive. ~ Wendy Turner 

Books that Wendy Turner Mentions on FocusED

Culturally Responsive Teaching and the Brain by Zaretta Hammond


Related Content from TheSchoolHouse302

Our interview with Jeffrey Benson

Our interview with Tom Hoerr

Our interview with Lorea Martinez

Our interview with Morgane Michael 


Thanks for listening to FocusED, an educational leadership podcast brought to you by TheSchoolHouse302 @ where we publish free leadership content. Go to the site and subscribe, and you’ll get all of our content sent directly to your email. 


FocusED is your educational leadership podcast where our mission is to dissect a particular focus for teachers and school leaders so that you can learn to lead better and grow faster in your school or district. Let us know who you would like to hear from next. 


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