Reclaiming our Students

A few years ago, an educational book was published titled “Reclaiming our Students: Why Children Are More Anxious, Aggressive, and Shut Down Than Ever—And What We Can Do About It“. I read this book when it came out and it taught me A LOT, shifted my perspective of teaching and learning, and made me a better and more understanding teacher overall.

Instead of focusing on students’ surface-level behaviour, I began trying to focus on what might be behind the behaviour. If we can begin to understand what’s going on beneath the surface (i.e., the root/ cause of the behaviour) then we are better positioned to understand and change the behaviour itself.

Recently this book was turned into an online professional development video series and this year EISB has decided to use it for teacher professional development. Across the school year, I will be holding monthly sessions to discuss the material with interested teachers. I also plan to write several blog posts about the topics I am learning about in the professional development series.

I wanted to share this information with the EISB community as the ideas in the book are helpful not only for teachers but for anyone (e.g., parents) who want to gain a better understanding of children’s behaviours and their underlying causes.

If you are interested in ordering the book or ebook you can do so here via


About the book (from the book website):

“Children are more anxious, aggressive, and shut down than ever.

Faced with this epidemic of emotional health crises and behavioural problems, teachers are asking themselves what went wrong. More importantly: What can we do about it?

Reclaiming Our Students is a thoughtful guide to restoring the student-teacher relationship and creating the conditions for change, written by Hannah Beach, celebrated educator and specialist in emotional health, and Tamara Neufeld Strijack, clinical counsellor and academic dean of the acclaimed Neufeld Institute—with a foreword by Gordon Neufeld, PhD. Reclaiming Our Students empowers teachers with relationship-based strategies to restore their leadership role and build emotional safety in the classroom.

You’ll learn:

  • How to build, feed, and protect the student-teacher relationship
  • Why children are anxious or bossy, aggressive or checked out, and what teachers can do to address these behavioral issues at their root
  • How you can help students and classes shift their identity as the “problem student” or “bad class”
  • Experiential activities for students of all ages that preserve and restore emotional health and well-being

Plus, you’ll find special considerations and information for parents, principals, counsellors, and home educators for building safety and support in the learning environment.

Combining Hannah’s groundbreaking experiential approach to creating emotional health and community in the classroom with the Neufeld Institute’s insightful approach to building relationships and making sense of children, Reclaiming Our Students is required reading for teachers that not only want to understand and overcome daily challenges, but also re-connect to their calling as educators.”

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