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Becoming an Emotionally Intelligent Teacher Neil Mason — appi member Teacher, Text-book author (Training and Consulting, Dubai, UAE)

Stress & Teachers

the Royal Navy to consider teaching as a career. I wonder whether that might make some students stop and think about their behaviour — I remember a scene from the film Dangerous Minds where Michelle Pfeiffer’s character gets some attention from her class when she writes: “I am a US Marine. Does anyone know karate?” on the board.

Burnout An article in The Independent in 2005, on teachers and mental illness, quotes research on 300 secondary school teachers done by the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL) in Britain, showed that abuse at the hands of pupils had left 46 per cent taking antidepressants or facing long lay-offs from school through stress. The survey also revealed that 72 per cent of teachers had considered quitting their jobs because they were “worn out”. The Guardian newspaper in 2008 quoted another ATL study of 762 teachers where more than two thirds (70%) of the teachers and lecturers surveyed said their health has suffered because of their job, and over 50% are stressed by working in education.

Call in the troops …

The most stressful jobs frequently involve work with people or require you to hide your emotions. In combining these two, teaching carries a high degree of emotional labor and with that stress. “Burnout refers to negative consequences associated with chronic job stress. It involves affective components such as exhaustion, depersonalization, and a reduced sense of personal accomplishment.” site: resource:

How many of us are either burned out, or close to getting burned out, and don’t recognize what is going on?

Let’s not forget the kids Sometimes with all the stress and problems we face as teachers, we forget about those we are paid to serve. Students also face an extremely stressful time in education where demands are placed on them — and often they are expected to be more mature in their reactions than we expect of ourselves as adults.

An article in The Guardian in June this year says that from next year, ex-military personnel will be able to sign up to a programme that will put them in the classroom in around half the time it usually takes to become a teacher. The move is part of a bid by ministers to encourage members of the army, Royal Air Force and

I recently went to a seminar about ADHD. It was a seminar for school employees. During a particularly boring section one of the ladies in the audience yawned — quite loudly! It was a very funny moment and everyone just started to laugh — including the presenter. I was reminded that if the same had happened in a classroom, the kid would have been thrown out of the class and sent to the head teacher — all hell would break loose for the rudeness of the students. I am not saying that we should allow rudeness, I am saying that we use different rules when it comes to judging ourselves. And maybe we should “slow down and think” before we reprimand every little occurrence. school_stress.html

In some countries schools are seeking ways to help students cope with stress. I would argue that one of the first steps in dealing with stress or burnout is to not see the student as the enemy but to see that they are also human and suffer from their own set of problems. Students need respect and understanding as well as a firm hand. I have always been known for being tough — but fair; for being demanding — but understanding. Some of the best teachers I ever had were those who treated me as a real person. If you want to get respect — give it out freely! As a teacher you are one of the most important influences in the lives of the students you deal with every day. If you are not developing your emotional intelligence and passing it on to your classes — think of the damage that can cause to the lives which are entrusted to you. I am often reminded of what Peter Parker’s (Spiderman) uncle said to him “with great power comes great responsibility”. That is true for teachers, too. Not just for spiderman.

A few months ago I got hooked on MasterChef Junior (Australia). I was amazed how young kids were so good at cooking. Their level of skill even rivaling the adult shows. Sometimes we need to recognize that kids can be better than us at some things. Let’s learn to respect that rather than concentrate on negatives. I know a 14 year old boy who struggles in school, and has a tendency to get himself in trouble quite often. He seems to have a gift at it, in fact. For many teachers he is a disaster. What is his passion? No one takes the time to find out. Well — it’s classical ballet, and he’s really getting very good at it! He might not be Billy Elliot — but do you remember how you were inspired when you saw that film? Who would guess that a “problem kid” had such an interest. Our students are people, too! I believe that we need not only develop our own emotional intelligence, but also serve as emotional intelligence coaches to our students (and our families).

Emotional Intelligence to the Rescue … Daniel Goleman’s research and writing on Emotional Intelligence (EI or EQ) is quite recent. It has proved hugely important in the business world as people learn that emotion plays a part in every day life and needs to be factored in to just about every area. In recent research, companies in the USA were asked what skills they required from school leavers. The top skills that were required were all in the area of emotional intelligence! Millions is spent every year on training in companies to develop in areas of emotional intelligence.

Over the past year I have noticed in a number of contexts how things would be different if people had learned something about emotional intelligence. I believe that if we want to maintain our sanity and thrive, we need to gain a sense of control over ourselves and the way we interact with others. “Emotionally intelligent individuals stand out. Their ability to empathize, persevere, control impulses, communicate clearly, make thoughtful decisions, solve problems, and work with others earns them friends and success. They tend to lead happier lives, with more satisfying relationships. At work, they are more productive, and they spur

productivity in others. At school, they do better on standardized tests and help create a safe, comfortable classroom atmosphere that makes it easier to learn.”

Emotional intelligence is also useful for classroom management. There are a number of articles and other literature. For example: DEVELOPING EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE IN THE CLASSROOM

“Disruptive behaviour can seriously impede a student’ s academic progress. Don Jordan and Joanna Le Métais present some classroom strategies which promote emotional growth and appropriate social skills to help reduce classroom disruption and improve student time on-task.”

What is Emotional Intelligence? The first step in emotional intelligence has to do with self awareness. If we can’t figure ourselves out, then you don’t stand much chance surviving the jungle.

others in a healthy way? Do you take your anger out on your students? Do you direct your negative actions towards innocents? Or are you able to regulate your behaviour? Social Awareness Are you aware of the feelings and emotions of people around you? Are you able to empathize with others? Are you able to recognize that your students’ also have emotional reactions which may or may not be valid. Children and adolescents have less ability in self-regulation. They are learning it — and will see positive or negative examples in the adults around them. How can we expect more of our students if we do not expect more of ourselves? Relationship Management Self-regulation deals with your side. What do you do when there is an emotional outburst in others? Are you able to deal with that in a healthy way? Once you recognize that your students’ reaction / anger / impulse Learnable Emotional Intelligence Skills Emotional intelligence can be developed. We can learn the skills of anger management, impulse control and so on. It does not happen overnight. It takes time. Stop blaming the students, stop blaming the ministry, stop blaming the school … basically stop blaming. Looking for someone or something to blame creates more frustration. The solution is to

How self-aware are you? So, here’s a question. What are you feeling right now? What emotions are going on? Are you in a positive or negative place emotionally? Do you become easily irritated? How do you treat other people when you are feeling negative emotions? If you are in a “bad mood” do you treat others (your students) worse than when you are feeling fine? How quickly do you get upset with people? Can you recognize things that tend to upset you easily? What are your triggers? Self-regulation So, you kind of know more about yourself. Can you actually begin to control your actions? You are upset and angry about something — are you able to act towards

For the cynics … I must confess, I have a problem with cynics. I don’t have a problem with people who are critical thinkers. Only those cynics who think they have nothing to learn because they already learned everything. If you are a cynic — I challenge you to do some of your own reading and research. If that doesn’t work — go get some Prozac! More stuff There is a list of references below to further reading, some references to things I mentioned and some videos you will most certainly enjoy learning from. There’s some quality stuff in the links … you will be encouraged and built up! I am sure!


Links / references: • • schools.uk9 • former-soldiers-qualify-teachers-government? INTCMP=ILCNETTXT3487 • education-news/nearly-half-of-teachers-havesuffered-from-mental-illness-6150000.html • avoidburnout.htm • • school_stress.html • • • pub101_BrackettKatulak2006TheEIclassroom.pdf • 00_24_11.pdf •

Recommended Reading

William Powell, Ochan Kusuma-Powel Becoming an Emotionally Intelligent Teacher Are you an emotionally intelligent teacher who engages your students in learning? Because teaching behaviors and personalities can affect student achievement, teachers who develop their emotional awareness and interpersonal skills are better able to manage their classrooms and promote student success. Based on Daniel Goleman’s five components of emotional intelligence, this guide shows how selfawareness, self-regulation, motivation, social awareness, and relationship management can help teachers increase their effectiveness in the classroom. The authors provide research, case studies, and essential tools that help teachers to: · Understand how their conscious and unconscious behaviors affect the learning environment · Refine their verbal and nonverbal communication skills · Manage their feelings and frustrations · Interpret student behaviors, developing insight into how students perceive their teaching styles · Hone their presentation skills Enrique Rojas Não te rendas! Como vencer a adversidade com maturidade e intelligência.

Recommended Watching

Daniel Goleman Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ

· Daniel Goleman explains Emotional Intelligence

Through vivid examples, Goleman delineates the five crucial skills of emotional intelligence, and shows how they determine our success in relationships, work, and even our physical well-being. What emerges is an entirely new way to talk about being smart.

· Daniel Goleman Suggests Ways to Boost Emotional Intelligence.

The best news is that "emotional literacy" is not fixed early in life. Every parent, every teacher, every business leader, and everyone interested in a more civil society, has a stake in this compelling vision of human possibility. Antonio Damasio Descartes’ Error ‘I think, therefore I am’ … science has often overlooked emotions as the source of a person’s true being. Even modern neuroscience has tended until recently to concentrate on the cognitive aspects of brain fuction, disregarding emotions. This attitude began to change with the publication of Descartes’ Error. · Brené Brown: The power of vulnerability brene_brown_on_vulnerability.html · Susan Cain: The power of introverts susan_cain_the_power_of_introverts.html · Ken Robinson: How to escape education's death valley ken_robinson_how_to_escape_education_s_death_ valley.html · Marcus Buckingham Go Put Your Strengths To Work · Marcus Buckingham Playing to Your Strengths – Part I (the rest of Trombone Player Wanted can be found by following the links TPW part 2, 3, 4 etc.)

Emotionally Intelligent Teachers  

this article still needs proof reading and correction …

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