On the Emotional Toll and Tensions of Doing Socioemotional Work in an Urban Setting


  • Jinan ElSabbagh Oklahoma State University




socioemotional learning, emotionality of K-12 teachers, urban elementary schools, equity, case study


In this critical qualitative case study, I explored the implementation of a P-6 urban elementary school’s SEL program (SEL+). Through analyzing a combination of classroom observations, two in-depth interviews, and artifact collection, this study illuminates two themes: how reflexivity leads to heightened self-awareness among school personnel, the emotional labor that occurs consequently, and secondly, the ongoing challenges teachers and administrators face as they implement SEL praxis (and SEL+) in their schools, including the continued use of deficit-laden language and policing of students’ bodies. The study aims to inform and add to the growing field of SEL in public educational contexts as a way for administrators, educators, and preservice teachers to better serve their students. Attending to SEL’s implications for trauma-informed personnel and their (emotional) needs, it also provides additional significance to the growing work of equity possibilities and limitations within a SEL context. Recommendations for future implementations are also included.


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How to Cite

ElSabbagh, J. (2023). On the Emotional Toll and Tensions of Doing Socioemotional Work in an Urban Setting. Journal of Trauma Studies in Education, 2(2), 64–82. https://doi.org/10.32674/jtse.v2i2.4082



Research Papers