Imagine an airplane is burning and the people in charge – those responsible for keeping you safe and calm – begin to freak out. What do you think the rest of the plane will do? How will they react? In the classroom, a teacher that demonstrates that same frenzy and chaos runs the risk that his or her students will pick up those same habits. Learning to Teach with Patience and Lead by Example are imperative to a successful teaching career.
The culture a teacher makes with their students and classroom takes a while to cultivate. If a teacher loses their cool in class, it can take even longer to rebuild that trust. Experienced teachers all have tried and true methods for relieving stress, demonstrating patience, and leading by example. New teachers often overlook this entirely crucial step towards becoming a better teacher. Here are a few ways that teachers can become more aware in order to lead by example.
Think Before Speaking
Reacting to situations is all too familiar to teachers. We’re putting out “fires” that arise throughout the day and simply try to handle them as they come. Next time, before you react to a student’s question when you’re busy doing another task, let the him or her know that you’ll address their situation shortly. This allows you to think about your actions or words prior to engaging with the student. Students will pick up on this as well, knowing the next time it’s okay to think thoughtfully before speaking.
Taking Care of Self
Teachers enter their classrooms and, what feels like seconds later, they’re walking to their car after a long and busy day. This is the reality for many teachers, and it is not beneficial to anyone. Teachers give so much of themselves to their profession. They give so much, in fact, that they forget to take care of their own health. Eating foods that are convenient instead of healthy, no time to exercise, and constantly amplifying professional pressures grow and build until you wonder how you got to this point. Here are a few tips on taking care of self.
- One of the best ways to de-stress is to learn about a topic that’s interesting to you. Teachers love to learn – it’s why we got into teaching. With the abundance of online education programs available, it’s never been a better time to learn something new.
- Meal Prep
- Unless you’re a foodie, preparing meals is an arduous task. After a tremendously difficult day, coming home to cook dinner is probably the last thing you want to do. Preparing meals on the weekend and saving them in the refrigerator or freezer until ready gives you extra time to relax and cool down.
- Take a Breath
- Taking little mini breaks throughout the day is crucial to a healthy self. Mindful meditation is quick and easy. It can be done in as little as a second, simply by focusing on the flow of breath as it enters and leaves your body. Our minds are racing all day – a few seconds to remember to breathe can mean everything.
Keep it Together
The kids we teach are looking to us for guidance and modeling. How we act can be learned and replicated. This is why it’s so important that teachers keep it together. If we’re calm in the face of a challenge, our students will pick up on it and know that they themselves can remain calm.
The stress that comes with being a teacher cannot be understated. Students, parents of students, and administration all have demands that need to be met. A teacher must also handle their own needs. What happens if teachers don’t get the relief they need and that stress festers? Tensions build until a teacher loses his or her cool. The bad news is that this phenomenon is entirely too common. The good news, on the other hand, is that there are ways to Teach with Patience.