We're all experiencing a range of emotions right now. Life is an emotional roller coaster, now more than ever. COVID-19 has had an unprecedented impact on educators, school staff, students, and families. As the 2019-2020 school year came to a close, we asked over 5,000 school staff members how they were feeling. Their answers included words like anxiety, stress, nervous, lonely, overwhelmed, frustrated, concerned, and confused. Around the same time, at the end of the 2019-2020 academic year, we held a webinar for over a thousand adults focused on helping children manage their emotions during this time. We asked these attendees how their children and students were feeling. These answers included frustrated, worried, confused, bored, lonely, angry, sad, disappointed, and we did have a few responses like happy, playful, and loved. All of these emotions that we're experiencing come from real events that are happening in our world. We experience strong emotions when things in our environment trigger these emotions, which isn't always a bad thing. Our response to these events and emotions, and in particular, our stress response, is our body's way of helping us adapt to threats in our environment. While it may feel unpleasant, this response has helped us to survive for millions of years. When we feel stress or anxiety over a long period of time, it can have a negative impact on our health, relationships, and our ability to be present, teach, work, and learn. Anxiety can make us play things over and over in our heads and crave control. When we are anxious, we often think that nothing is going to work out. The hopeful news is that researchers have been studying these emotions for decades. Practitioners have transformed those findings into strategies, routines, and habits that help people cope with these ranges of emotions, in particular, stress and uncertainty. These practices have been formalized into what we now know as social and emotional learning, and the strategies presented in this course are informed by the field of SEL. Social-emotional learning (or SEL) is the process through which children and adults understand and manage emotions, set and achieve positive goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain positive relationships, and make responsible decisions, according to CASEL. SEL also can provide us with the necessary skills to cope with situations that may or may not be within our control. For example, in unjust or unfair situations, people who are skilled in SEL might leverage their anger in constructive ways. They might channel their anger and passion for educating others, pushing for change, seeking allies, fighting for justice, or volunteering to support a cause. To cope with the wide range of emotions surrounding the COVID-19 crisis, those who are skilled in SEL may find ways to express empathy, amplify people's positive experiences and emotions, express gratitude, and connect to others to seek and provide support. Importantly, even though SEL involves managing our emotions, it isn't about control, subordination, or conforming. It's about finding our truth and navigating emotions effectively, leading us to finding productive ways to achieve our goals, support others, and attain well-being. The most effective SEL is systemic. This means that it's embedded into the PreK to 12 curricula and instruction, school-wide practices and policies, and family and community partnerships. As we continue throughout this course, we'll learn how SEL can help us deal with all of the different emotions that we're experiencing right now.