Master Teachers Have Healthy Self-Esteem
by Glenn F. Dietzel, M.T.S. & M.Ed.
Personal and professional development trainer, Denis Waitley, asserts that, "We must feel love inside ourselves before we can give it to others." The word "esteem" means to "appreciate the value of." We teachers must all (humbly) see ourselves as valuable. Especially in this day and age when it seems we are attacked from all angles. And this is an especially important mind-set for the beginning of a new school year.
Students pick up very quickly the confidence level of their teachers. Master teachers have and project high self-esteem. They convey to their students that they are ready for action, displaying quiet confidence. They are firm, fair, and they have a ready smile. They never yell (well, almost never ) and display a calm, quiet disposition when dealing with discipline problems.
They have the ability to create within their students a healthy respect for teachers as professionals and as people. They have the uncanny ability to cause students to want to please their teachers for fear of disappointing them.
Master teachers know that many of their toughest students, those who convey the message, "I don't care," do care, and they understand the home lives of these youth. They are also cognizant of the peer pressure surrounding their pupils. They know that practicing "tough love" and celebrating successes at every appropriate moment are necessary to eventually winning over their classes. These teachers convey to their students that they care for them in every instance.
In situations where these teachers are confronted by student defiance, master teachers emotionally detach themselves from the situation, and do not react as students would expect them to; instead, their internalized behaviour plan kicks in and they calmly and coolly deal with these disruptive students away from the support of their peers. In fact, master teachers have the support of the majority of the class, which causes students to secretly applaud their actions! In all these trying student-teacher scenarios, there is the underpinning message that proclaims, "I care for you!"
Of course, teachers who are involved in the social fabric of the school, the clubs, extracurricular activities, and varsity sports have the added dimension of conveying messages about themselves that go beyond their classrooms. It certainly goes without saying that these teachers convey in word and deed the attitude, "You are important."
It takes a healthy self esteem to work with children effectively today. Master teachers know that they are extremely valuable in helping mold the students they teach. They remember that the effectiveness of their own teachers was not necessarily in what they related cognitively, but in their favourite teachers' abilities to connect with them at an emotional level.
Connecting with students emotionally facilitates the opportunity of earning their pupils' respect for their position, which is mandatory, and respect for them as persons, which is necessary for making a difference in their lives. Students who feel loved by their teachers experience an unconditional acceptance of themselves, which is very important in their maturation. Master teachers have the healthy self-esteem to do this day in and day out!
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