Why you should be thankful to be in education – Episode 051

By Juan Campos

The Seal It With A Smile Podcast is where high performing Educators come to learn actionable brain building strategies. These brilliant minds understand that learning happens through relationships! This show will make you more responsive, more insightful, more congruent, and more effective so YOU can serve as a SUPERMODEL for your kids. Master teachers understand that higher performance in the classroom starts within themselves.

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This week, I hope you enjoy the time off with your loved ones, friends, family, and fur babies! Self care and spending time with those you are close with is VITAL to your success in the classroom!

During this week of thanksgiving and gratitude, I would like to offer you a fresh perspective why everyone in education should be thankful and grateful for our roles.

At a time when education and educators is under tremendous pressure, I still feel strongly that we should have a sense of gratitude and thanksgiving with regards to our positions! This story will help explain why:

During my first year of teaching, I worked very hard at trying not to be “that” teacher; the one who would yell at his/her students all the time. Of course, I did not succeed (I taught sophomore chemistry at this time). However, in this one particular classroom, I worked very hard at not yelling at my students. It was a conscious choice and I stuck with it.

One particular day, while feeling especially defeated in the classroom, I couldn’t continue my lesson, and the will to yell at the kids was just not in me. It was at that moment when one of my students perked up and said, “no, you need to yell at us.”

I was shocked. I asked her to repeat herself cause I didn’t understand if I heard her right.

“That’s what teachers do. Teachers yell at us… If I was you, I would have already yelled at all these students already!”

Her response was the one thing I fought so hard to avoid! It was a pivotal moment for me because I realized at that moment:
I need to be better
This opened up a very interesting conversation where my students openly told me I was a pushover and that I needed to be more aggressive! Much to my dismay and shock, because frankly; that’s just not my personality! That’s just not me!

Regardless, the conversation took place, the lesson was not touched on at all, but my class and I had a very in-depth discussion where they openly shared their feelings and experiences about other teachers who have mistreated them, yelled at them, and how they felt that most teachers just don’t care about them as people.

This prompted me to really dig in my heels with regards to my “assertiveness”. My thought at the time was;  if the kids are openly telling me this is what I need to do, maybe a little it more of it wouldn’t hurt.  My plan was in motion, I knew what I had to do.

Fortunately, I didn’t have to be anyone I was not.

The next day was a complete success; my students listened to me, they followed my lead and my lessons, there was no struggle to get anyone’s attention.  And it continued every day after that. In fact, the discussions began to flow, and they would want to talk about more topics, sometimes related to the lesson, and sometimes not. Regardless, I took the time to answer their questions and sometimes used the question as way to get through a lesson, as if answering the question was a reward for their efforts (it works!)

It made me realize why it is so important to be yourself; because kids need authenticity.
It’s important to be yourself… because kids need authenticity!
Kids are going through tremendous growth and need people who are authentic and whom they can model! The more authentic you can be, the more real, the more YOU you can be, means you are someone that they can trust, because your authenticity will shine, whether it is a lesson you are teaching or a discussion you are having, the more authentic you are, the more your students are willing to believe you, and trust you during your lessons and in your classroom.

So what does this have to do with being grateful and having a sense of gratitude in the classroom?