Build Resilient Students

Attention, School Leaders! Are you ready to make a transformative impact on your campus? Imagine a school environment where students possess resilience and strong mental health, enabling them to navigate challenges with confidence. Building resilient students and improving mental health across your campus is not only beneficial but essential for their overall well-being and academic success. By investing in simple strategies and initiatives that foster resilience, you create an environment where students can flourish, overcome obstacles, and thrive in all areas of their lives. Enhancing mental health and resilience among students cultivates a positive and supportive culture, leading to increased engagement, reduced stress levels, improved academic performance, and ultimately, a brighter future for your entire school community. Join us in this mission to transform your campus by taking proactive steps to build resilient students and prioritize mental health. Together, let’s create an environment where every student can reach their full potential.

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Resilient Students Training for Teachers & Staff

School shootings occur every year. Teens die by suicide each week. Thousands of students are crushed by bullying every day.

Why can some work through the adversity while others can’t?

JC Pohl, LMFT offers a direct pathway to one singular solution: resiliency

It’s the ability to take the hits and keep moving forward. It’s the fortitude to get knocked down and get back up. This training offers a blueprint that is guaranteed to unleash the powers of resilience within your students.

Don’t wait another minute to book this program!

JC’s keys to building resilient students might stop the next potential school shooter, save a suicidal student, or remind every bullied child that brighter days lie ahead.



“JC’s program features very positive insights and some practical tips about helping kids to build resilience.”

Chris Hollister

Assistant Superintendent, Chaffey Joint Union High Schools



In-Person & Virtual Trainings Available

About JC Pohl

JC Pohl, LMFT is a producer and speaker who has reached over 10 million people in 7,000+ schools. He has produced ground breaking programs such as TEEN TRUTH and RISING UP, and award-winning content for companies such as Warner Brothers, ESPN, and Disney. He has also provided innovative educational content for The American Film Institute and Human Relations Media.

His school culture work with TEEN TRUTH has sent him around the world, inspiring students, educators, and parents to tell hard truths and be the difference. During his career, Pohl has been featured on news programs, radio shows, and has received front-page coverage on USA Today and Yahoo! Sports. He has keynoted conferences for CADA, TASC, BOOST, NASC, LEAD, NCSA, ACE, DECA, Texas School Safety Center, SC AMLE, and the PTA. Additionally, he has consulted for brands such as Six Flags, Universal Studios, Lifetouch, Union Pacific, Special Olympics, The Miami Dolphins, The Baltimore Ravens, and SHRM Chapters in Maine, New England, and Texas.

To compliment TEEN TRUTH, he has also developed RISING UP, a self-development program designed to teach students to build resiliency in the face of adversity. Launched in 2013, Pohl’s RISING UP: Coaching Program has reached tens of thousands of students across the country and consists of a peer-to-peer curriculum used by school counselors, the Texas Department of State Health Services, the Texas School Safety Center, 21st Century ACE Centers, Communities in Schools and other leading education related organizations across the country.

Pohl is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, holds a Master’s Degree in Professional Counseling from Texas State University, San Marcos, and a Bachelor’s Degree in Business and Marketing from Santa Clara University. Additionally, he has sat on the board of the Austin Association of Marriage and Family Therapists and manages a small private practice for select counseling clients. You can find him on Facebook and LinkedIn or connect directly at

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Building Resilient Students in the Classroom

It’s critical to build resilient students in the classroom. Students thrive when they feel supported and can be capable of overcoming any challenges they might face. Are you an educator who feels lost on how to teach resiliency? We are here to help!

What is Student Resilience?

Student resilience is defined as a student’s ability to overcome new challenges and obstacles to achieve their educational goals while maintaining their mental health. Another way to think of student resilience is how well students bounce back from difficult circumstances. A good example would be the persistence of students to succeed despite learning remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic. Students can learn to overcome obstacles and circumstances in route to successfully achieving their goals.

Building Resilient Students with JC Pohl

Why Do We Need to Build Resilience in Students?

School isn’t just for memorizing information and regurgitating it. It is the environment where students learn social skills and hone their emotional intelligence. Students need resiliency to succeed as adults in the ‘real world.’ Resilient people are more equipped to cope with adversity. Thankfully, resilience is an important social-emotional skill that can be taught, practiced, and improved.

Building resilient life skills in students is just as important as perfecting geometry and literature skills, if not more so. A necessary component of building resiliency is utilizing social-emotional learning.

Social-emotional learning (SEL) in schools may look like:

  • Understanding and empathy of others’ circumstances, cultures, and background;
  • Self-awareness, or the ability to recognize one’s own emotions and values;
  • Self-management, or the successful regulation of one’s emotional responses;
  • Responsible decision making, which consists of making good choices that will positively impact one’s self and others;
  • Relationship skills, or the ability to establish and preserve healthy personal relationships;
  • Engaging service learning through community service to increase students’ empathy;
  • Practicing positive self-image and high self-esteem.

Consider teaching resilience as part of a structured SEL curriculum in your classroom. By focusing on effective SEL techniques, students will experience improved academic, social, and emotional performance throughout their lives.

Teen Suicide Prevention

How Can Schools Teach Resilience to Students?

Teaching resiliency in schools requires a multi-faceted approach. Here are a few ways how you can incorporate SEL into your school to build more resilient students:

Create Supportive Learning Environments

Unfortunately, for some students, school is their only reprieve from an unhealthy home. For this reason, it is crucial to ensure that schools are supportive and safe environments. School is the only place where some children receive intervention that will help them to recover from their traumas. Educators should set clear boundaries on what type of speech is appropriate for class discussion and what is not conducive for a supportive learning environment.

They should also focus on student’s strengths rather than their weaknesses. For too long, there has been an educational emphasis on pointing out failure and mistakes. When students provide input, it may be more important to make them feel encouraged and valued for their contribution than it is to nit-pick details and adjusting their delivery. Certainly, ensure that the student learns the correct answer, but do not punish them for their efforts.

Classroom Dynamic is Important for Students

Teachers must regulate the classroom dynamic in a way that makes each student feel valued. In short, the classroom needs to be a safe place. First and foremost, the teacher should assume the role of classroom manager. Still, teachers are not classroom dictators; the student-teacher relationship must be built on mutual respect.

The teacher must make sure that students are treating each other with respect and dignity, as well. Very little learning will occur if a student is acting out and encouraging the class’s attention to center on them instead of the lesson. Similarly, a student will not focus if their classmates are picking on them. Or, if the teacher responds to their contributions in a manner that makes them feel dumb, the student will most likely shut down.

Classroom dynamics can even determine if a student’s learning disability goes without notice. Unrecognized learning disabilities can significantly influence lifelong perceptions of school, reading, writing, speaking, and more.

Identifying Student Strengths and Building Upon Them

Different students will have strengths in various areas. Whether it be musical, mathematical, sports, interpersonal, or written skills, try to identify what natural subjects your students appear to excel in individually. There are many free online assessments that can be helpful when determining your students’ strengths.

Once you have identified your students’ strengths, it’s essential to build upon them and leverage them to increase overall confidence in learning. The organizational skills that your students learn while honing their strengths will allow them to succeed in other academic areas. Give assignments that celebrate their academic strengths. Have lessons that center around specific fields and ask students who love those subjects to take a more active role.

Encourage Goal Setting for All Students

Encouraging students to set goals for themselves can motivate them to reach their full potential. At the beginning of the year, ask students to write down an academic goal for themselves. You shouldn’t assign the same goal to all your students because it’s essential to recognize their individual strengths and talents.

Every high-achiever sets very high expectations for themselves, but how do they react when they fell short of their goals? As a teacher, you should help your students devise SMART goals: those that are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely. This technique will make your students’ goals more likely to materialize.

Importance of Taking Responsible Risks 

Some students are comfortable with coasting in the classroom using minimal effort. However, to build resilient students, you must encourage them to take responsible risks. In fact, researchers Arthur Costa and Dr. Bena Kallick identify that taking responsible risks is a common habit of successful people.

An example of a responsible risk would be prompting students to edit and present a low-stakes, non-graded project. Teach students the importance of trying instead of only giving the correct answer. Call on those who do not have their hand raised, and preface your questions by stating, “Don’t focus on getting the answer right. Just tell me what you think.” These tactics will get students to step out of their comfort zones and build more resiliency in the process.

Provide Opportunities for Student Reflection

Resilient students become comfortable with recognizing their mistakes and areas for improvement. This opens the door for learning from their mistakes and further growth.

Model Learning from Mistakes 

It’s essential to teach students how to reframe their errors so they can learn from their mistakes. Initial discomfort may push the students to feel bad about themselves for their mistakes. However, you can change their way of thinking by presenting their mistakes as learning opportunities. Direct them to brainstorm what they could learn from their mistakes. This activity can help them to feel more positively about their errors.

Tell the students to ask themselves the following questions:

  • What went wrong?
  • Why did it go wrong?
  • What was I trying to do, and how can I achieve that result next time?

This technique emphasizes that learning is a process rather than an outcome. Until one has mastered a skill, they remain in the learning process This mindset eliminates the concept of failure and reframes setbacks in a positive light so that students will be able to learn and move on more quickly from their mistakes.

Promote Positive Mindsets and Emotions

Similar to reframing how students think about their mistakes, having a positive mindset will significantly enhance your students’ learning abilities. A study from the Stanford School of Medicine revealed that positive thinking “boosts the brain’s memory center and predicts… performance independent of factors such as a child’s IQ.”

So how do you promote a positive mindset in your classroom?

Instruct your students to envision a positive outcome before beginning a task. If you hear students speaking negatively about themselves, ask them why they feel that way. Then tell them positive perspectives that you have about their abilities. Furthermore, be a role model who demonstrates a positive mindset for yourself.

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Resiliency for Teens Outside of the Classroom 

Building resilience inside the classroom is imperative because students will carry these skills outside of their academic career. These skills will also be needed to handle the many ups and downs of their careers and adult lives.

Develop Positive Relationships with Peers

The more students believe in their own potential, the less likely they are to partake in bullying or feel the need to compete with others. This will help them to develop positive connections with peers, both as young students and as adults.

Positive peer relationships can also provide critical support systems. Peers who feel positively about one another are more likely to collaborate in complex problem solving. Having classmates who encourage each other can help build students’ confidence and desire to achieve their goals. Consequently, you can feel confident that the resiliency skills that you teach your students will positively impact them for a lifetime.

Resources and Programs Dedicated to Building Resilient Students

Building resilience with your students isn’t a task that you should face alone. Explore TEEN TRUTH’s resources, our Building Resilient Students book offers insight and techniques and our student leadership summits and SEL curriculum give students the opportunity to build resilience and school culture across your campus.

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