Saturday, 24 September 2016

When Students Are Our Teachers

Teachers beginning their careers will be challenged in their practise when situations present that require strength and resilience. One of a couple of things I will offer when asked is not to allow the fear of the disapproval of students thwart their resolve to establish their authority as classroom leader.

Why doesn't she like me? He doesn't seem to respond to my manner/style of teaching etc. Whilst these might prompt opportunities for reflection and review they don't need to become major 'crises of confidence.' Unless this is allowed to happen of course. As Eleanor Roosevelt once said: 

What we believe about ourselves is reflected in our behaviour and in how we feel when presented with difficult situations. Unconditional self acceptance is a kind of psychological buttress against the negative views and opinions that others may have of us. So suggestion number one for new educators: take ideas, opinions, advice on board but don't let them define you. What we believe about ourselves is less likely to be compromised. Our buttress isn't breached. For more on self acceptance visit:

The second piece of advice I will offer is this; be aware of our personal prejudices about students. As we can't expect that all others must like/respect/admire us (though we may healthily prefer this) it is true that we may not have altogether positive views of others. I have heard colleagues over the years say that they 'can't seem to warm to this student and this effects how I relate to her.' This is an important insight to acknowledge and it can have positive outcomes if we determine to find 'a way in' to connecting with that child. 

Accepting self and accepting others are valuable attitudes to cultivate and educators who practise this by and large relate more effectively to their students. Those students who otherwise may be marginalised are eventually, in most cases won over!

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