Within Our Control

Many years ago, I was filmed while I taught a variety of lessons. These videos were for no one other than me: a tool enabling me to watch, observe, and reflect on my own practice.

Although nerve-racking, it was fascinating to observe myself in this way; I became much more aware of my tendencies. I remember noticing that there were words I repeated unnecessarily. I also noticed that I often chose the same few students to respond to my questions and that my wait time generally wasn’t long enough. This experience created an opportunity to improve my craft.

As a positive reflection, I remember being surprised by my enthusiasm and energy. I was quite animated with my students and I watched how their enthusiasm and energy mirrored my own.

Since then, I have noticed this tendency in other classrooms as well. Teachers enthusiastic about teaching tend to create students enthusiastic about learning. Teachers who dwell on the negative unintentionally invite more negative behaviour. Teachers who remain calm encourage the same in their students.

We cannot control which students are in our classrooms. And of course, there will always be students whose behaviour is more challenging than the norm. We can choose to be negative, frustrated, and apathetic. Or, we can choose to be positive, enthusiastic, and calm. Our energy and demeanour in the classroom most certainly affects the way our students feel.

The choice is yours. As Carl Buechner once said, “They may forget what you said, but they will never forget how you made them feel.”

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