As a teacher you wear many hats. In addition to teaching the curriculum, teachers handle the emotional responses of their students. Compartmentalizing your life can lead to your own frustration, and then later down the road, miscommunication, blame and even anxiety. To avoid negative feelings, you should cultivate habits that will help you handle the emotional needs of your students. The changes you wish to see begin with your own initiative. Making minute changes in your behavior is one small step towards becoming an affective educator. Here are some habits to keep in mind:
1) Enjoy other’s success.
Becoming a teacher is a selfless pursuit. As you create a plan to reach your personal goals, do not focus solely on yourself. Find joy in the accomplishments of those around you. Whether it’s a student, or a fellow teacher, investing some of yourself in their happiness will only create more positivity for you. As you enjoy the success of those around you, you’ll be constantly reminded of the joy you find in teaching.
2) Reframe your perspective.
Oftentimes, your perspective on a situation will determine your attitude, and your actions. It can determine whether you feel empowered and optimistic, or pessimistic and defeated. Step back and recognize what the issue truly is. Is it part of a bigger problem? How can you reframe the problem to effectively handle it? Reframing your perspective can create hope in situations that at once seemed difficult.
3) Stop categorizing people.
It’s easy to categorize the people around us into groups defined by basic attributes. But when you categorize people, you limit your expectations of them. If you view someone as a fully developed thinker, they hold more value, and you are less likely to dismiss their contributions. Avoid simplifying people, so you can really understand their strengths and contributions.
4) Discuss the ethics of teaching.
Spark a discussion with your colleagues about your teaching practices. While it may seem daunting to invite others to express their opinions on teaching, the result can be constructive professional development. Discuss your teaching methods, processes and goals. This doesn’t have to be a single discussion, and it can lead to developments throughout the academic year.
5) Value humility.
Before you embrace a new idea, you have to recognize that your previous method was less effective. You should not be self conscious of your previous methods. By embracing humility, you will grow more comfortable with being wrong. By revising our own thinking and inviting others to provide constructive development, we are demonstrating our own willingness to change and learn.
6) Value intellect.
Teaching the same curriculum year after year can foster complacency. Soon, you will simply going through the motions, rather than providing fulfilling instruction. Cultivate and embrace your own intellect by writing for other publications, exploring your own teaching goals, and reflecting on your own career. Growing your own intellect will strengthen your passion for teaching.
7) Keep teaching fun.
If you maintain a playful attitude toward teaching, your students will be engaged and enjoy learning the subject material. Having fun in the classroom will keep students entertained, and show them that you don’t take yourself too seriously.
For more about being an affective teacher, read here.