A recent Tweet seemed to reinforce a thought I had been having. A teachers resource had Tweeted, and I won’t quote them here, that teachers should not waste time worrying about pupils behaviour as the children certainly don’t go home and worry about the teachers.
I am informed, from statistics and a recent response to my Twitter response, that 1 in 5 teachers leave in the first 5 years of the profession citing stress due to poor behaviour as the reason.
I am genuinely saddened and feel for both the children/pupils and the teachers. I have been a victim of stress, a great deal in my younger years. Of course stress is relative. Some individuals cope effectively and resourcefully with what some would consider a ‘highly stressful’ environment. What is the difference between these individuals and the ones who fall under the pressure? What did the 4 teachers have that the 1, out of 5, didn’t?
In my experience of hypnosis and NLP I see many individuals answer this question successfully and go on to achieve so much more than they thought they were capable of prior to therapy. How do they do this?
The difference lies not in the pupils, not in the schools, not in their support network and not in their training although each of these factors has a significant effect on the teachers experience. The main difference, and the only one they can take complete and total control of, negating outside influences, is their mind.
How we quantify and qualify an experience is within our power, and ours alone. Of course teacher 1 may have a fantastic wealth of resources to draw on which help her through all her difficult days and with her most challenging students.
Teachers 2-4 may be lacking one or more resources, outside of their control, but it is guaranteed that they lack the coping strategies and skills of teacher 1. Even without controlling the exterior factors teachers 2-4 can control their experience, the way they interpret it, what they learn from it and how it affects them.
With a high level of self-esteem, self-control, stress management skills, positive inner dialogue etc teachers 2-4 have a much higher chance of staying in the profession and making a real positive difference to the lives of their pupils, and their own.
I used to think that some were just better at coping with stress etc. In my mind all those years ago that meant better people. Somewhere along the way I learned that any skill, communication and stress management, even self-esteem, can be learned. I realised those people coping more effectively than I weren’t better, just better equipped.
I’m still picking up skills, honing and developing others, and I’m still learning. One thing I won’t do is give up.
I’d like to comment from the childs point of view. I am a little concerned that there is this great divide. It seems to be teachers vs children in the behaviour stakes. Many similarities exist between teaching and parenting and many of the same skills are necessary. Again, resourcefulness is the key. The child and the teacher, whether it be a parent of a teacher in a school, benefit immensely from having a wealth of resources to draw on. What we require is for the adults to have more resources than the children. To teach a child these skills you must be using them effectively yourself.
Parents need to be in control of their emotions, manage their anger and stress, in order to teach their children to. As adults we encounter stressful situations in life that highlight our lack of skills in this area. Many of us were not taught how to handle our emotions appropriately and it is my belief that this is why we have so many adults buckling under stress related illnesses and poor mental health. Viewed as a loop – parents handle their stress poorly, children model ineffective ways of handling stressful situations, going on to become parents and teachers themselves lacking the skills to handle their stressful situations and blaming the children in their care for the stress itself.
These children do not have the skills, the resources, to do their job properly ie be effective pupils. Are we, as the adults here, really able to say we have the skills to do ours? Parent and teach them effectively? By this statistic I fear that many adults are going into professions where these personal skills are a basic and essential requirement, but are highlighted as lacking within the first 5 years.
We are the adults here are we not? We can gain the resources from seeking help and personal development. A child looks to us as role models to help them learn these skills when they need them most, as a child.