YESS at West Leadership Academy

YESS at West Leadership Academy

“It’s the end of the road as we know it. And I feel fine!”  ~ R.E.M.

So we are all feeling the summer bug. Many students are stepping up and concluding the year as best they can. Others are facing their realities…

“I love getting into summer vacation, but after two weeks I am so bored! At that point I just want to get back to school.”  ~Miz

All the students agreed when he made this comment. We laughed about it. We are so ready to leave a situation the second we become stressed or bored. What a perfect example of how we perceive the world, and how we react to our perceptions. It was a great transition (at least in that one class) to be able to receive this comment and then go on to discuss EmoTrolls.

The students were able to identify their hot buttons (triggers) last week. They were pretty good at honestly accessing a few of  the things that would get to them. This week lent itself really well to understanding what pops up after being triggered. In a previous lesson back in Feb/March we discussed the brain for the second time to examine how to access the frontal lobe. The lesson was abstract but many students picked it up (putting it into practice of course is a life long journey). Well, we discussed that we needed to pass the emotional barrier of the limbic system. It is the limbic system that sets off all our emotions once we are triggered. Because we were trying to figure out how to move passed our difficulties in life we made the metaphor of creating a “Bridge of Forgiveness” to access the frontal lobe. Understanding that the emotions are all created by us to understand the world we know that they aren’t physically real. The emotions help us interpret the world based on past experiences.

Ultimately, that lesson proved just for EmoTrolls since mythical trolls are creatures that wait for us under a bridge, lurking, in wait to steal or play a trick on the passerby. We broke down each type of EmoTrolls and further distinguished these trolls to have sub-categories. The three main types are…

  1. Stuffers
  2. Stabbers
  3. Exploders

The students absorbed these concepts and internalized them. They analyzed some loved ones to examine how these people react to stress, and then they examined themselves. I wasn’t sure how honest they would be about their own lives, but they NAILED IT! Students understood that they stuffed their emotions and with some time they might even explode. Others noticed that they explode and don’t take the time to internalize their thoughts.

We finally ended the lessons with the EmoSuperheroes. It was up to the students to analyze how to get out of their comfort zone of having the troll pop up and react to it appropriately. When that troll popped up, face it and give it the attention it needs in order to have it go into hiding again. They understood that once one troll was under “control” another one would surface. And once the EmoTroll is gone, they can fully access their genius brain, their frontal lobe. We are still working on some of the assignments but this is one below


I hope they continue to water these seeds… to understand how they react and how they should appropriately respond… how to create rather than go to war… how to listen rather than yell… how to interpret their trauma so as not to traumatize others.