A teacher’s emotions follow with him/her in the classrooms and hence are responsible for creating mood, climate, weather of the classroom and that’s why it is very important for a teacher to remember the formula S3 – Self-awareness, Self-reflection and Self-care.
Teachers are people too, teachers have lives and families and successes and failures and good days and bad days and that is why it is very important to understand “Our Inner world- our strengths, areas of improvement, our triggers, recurring patterns of behaving, fears, anxieties”.
The teacher is the most powerful force in shaping an emotionally intelligent behaviour and teaching how to control anger, resolve conflicts and motivate students. In an era of tremendous work load and cut-throat competition, a teacher needs to act in an emotionally competent manner so that the students in turn can imbibe these positive characteristics and can turn out to be productive and dutiful citizens of the nation. If they are aware of their own emotions and the impact of that on the students around, they will be very effective EQ coaches for their students.
The other day I was attending a workshop and we were given a group exercise of creating an emotional iceberg of a situation of student lacking attention in the classroom. Top of the iceberg was the outward behavior but when we started thinking of the probable causes of the lack of attention behavior, we were able to think of many reasons for the outward behavior, some of them were, Transition to another place, new school, linguistic barrier, hungry, sleepy, overstrain, suppressed emotions, not challenged enough, doesn’t like the teacher, parents’ conflict at home, prior experience and the list goes on and on.
That made me think of this as a very effective tool to work on our own self-awareness, knowing the deep reasons of our own behavior. Just draw an iceberg and always ask questions to yourself (for a change, instead of asking questions to the students). WHAT AM I FEELING and WHAT CAN BE THE DIFFERENT REASONS FOR FEELING THAT WAY.
Recognizing our own patterns and understanding which of them are effective and which of them hinder, will help a teacher to manage one’s own emotions.
The second S in the formula is Self-reflection.
Are you your own subject?
Do periodic “Emotional Check ins”- Ask yourself:
- Why did I behave the way I did?
- Is this behaviour empowering me or my student?
- What are the other choices I have?
- What is my vision for my students?
- Are my actions aligned with my vision?
If you feel comfortable, discuss your reflections with your students. It helps them develop the skills of reflection and taking a pause to respond better.
The third S in the formula is Self-care
As teachers, you need to charge your batteries too. It is very important to rejuvenate and re-energize. You will be able to give more if your cup is full. Our own ability to bounce back after the day’s setbacks given an opportunity to students to develop optimism and resilience, the two very important EQ skills.
What you are communicating to YOURSELVES regarding your own importance in bringing the best in the students ensures that you remain positive and self-confident which will help you to not take difficult behaviours personally and see them from a distant. Prioritize your wellbeing.
Self-care is a priority and necessity-not a luxury-in the work teachers do.
We can contribute to creating an emotionally safe place by TUNING IN TO OUR OWN EMOTIONS.
To be the best teacher possible, I can’t ignore who I am
My teaching is a part of me, and who I am is a part of my teaching
Good teachers “join self and subject and students in the fabric of life.”