Social & Emotional Competency Before Entering the Real World

Author: Dustin Odham
March 16, 2022

Social & Emotional Competency Before Entering the Real World

Read this exclusive conversation with Mathew Portel. Learn more during the podcast interview on Change Starts Here. WATCH HERE

Dustin: At the high school level, they’re about to go into the real world and their employer may not practice trauma informed care with them.  So there, I feel like the push back I would get from high schoolers is like our job is to prepare them for the real world. How is this helping them when their employers are not gonna do that, or the college they go to is not gonna do that, or the trade skill place they’re going to is not gonna do that?


Mathew Portell:  And I think that’s valid. I think there’s some validity to that right? Developmentally we do have to look at the different tiers. However, if we don’t teach the skills and the teachers prior did not teach the skills to these kids, employability is low.

If they can’t stay regulated. If they don’t understand emotional regulation. If they don’t understand what happens when they do get angry within the way their body feels or the way that their mind works. Like, those things happen and come out and we have kids that leave high school with a diploma with no social and emotional competency. With no ability to understand why do I feel the way I feel and what am I going to do with this?

Do you know how I know that? That was me. I graduated at 17 and I actually graduated going half-day because I had enough credits. I had the diploma. I had no social and emotional competency. I had no self-awareness. I had none of those pieces that back when I was in school those things didn’t even exist. We were told to sit down, be quiet and do what you’re told.

You see, the world has progressed, the research has progressed, the neuroscience has progressed. Now we understand that there are five core competencies and I know that the leader in me aligns to those perfectly around empowerment. In the seven habits itself, it’s designed for just that. And I know we’re not talking about that, but as a practitioner, I utilize those habits. I utilize those three personal and those three community celebrated habits.

So, I mean, I think that we didn’t have these things when we were younger. And so, when we’re preparing the kids for the world we lived in, we don’t live in the same world.

As a teenager, I wasn’t an advocate for others like I see kids now. I personally marched with 10,000 people downtown organized by four 15-year-old kids from a local high school. That did not exist in my world. So, I think, when we say we’re preparing them for the real world, the real world is not the world we jumped into when we left high school. It’s a completely different place.


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