This weekend, Transylvania College hosted the 18th National RATE Conference – English for 21st Century Skills. During this conference CET – The Cluj English Teachers Association raised awareness of the importance of the 3L’s: Learning, Life, and Literacy skills the students need to develop in the 21st century. The conference was attended by over 450 participants from Romania and from all over the world.
I had the honor to be invited as a speaker at this event, where I presented the workshop: The Teacher Within – A Mindful Approach to Teaching in the 21st Century. Since I had an exciting and memorable experience receiving a great feedback, I thought it would be great to share a part of my presentation here:
Five years ago I was questioning myself how I could support teachers in our school. I was wondering, what makes them be good teachers. I realized that sometimes you have everything you need: facilities, materials, equipment; but who is the teacher in front of the class? Who is the person that enters every day in the classroom, trying to influence and inspire the students? That’s when I started to work writing on a book, entitled The Teacher Within – A MINDFUL APPROACH TO TEACHING IN THE 21ST CENTURY, together with an American specialist in education, Susan Shapiro.
The “Teacher Within” is a personal journey of fulfillment that can help teachers make a difference in their life and the lives of those with whom they interact every day: students, family, and community. It is about living a mindful life that leads toward wellbeing and fulfillment. A transformation that helps them recognize that everything they do influence the students, every thought they think affects them and it ultimately affects who they will become. Who a teacher is within is what the students will experience in the classroom.
What are the main personality treats of a good teacher?
In my experience, a good teacher is mindful and resilient.
If you are resilient, you have a vision. You do everything to bounce back to safety and continue your path ahead. You treat others with kindness and forgiveness and you manage to let go of the burdens of your past. You see challenges, not problems and you find your positive self-talk. You create a positive learning environment with courage and commitment. You are not a victim and you have the mindset of resilience.
I would like to discuss more and reflect on a few of these personality traits until Christmas:
Imagine that your problems are a deep ocean with the tide pulling you down, and you feel as if you are drowning. Then all of a sudden someone drops the lifebuoy to save you. Now it’s your choice to grab it and bounce back to safety, getting your life back, or drown in the ocean consumed by all of your problems. The difference in the two scenarios is resilience. Your mind is your power to bounce back to life in difficult situations.
Your first job is to be aware of your thoughts and reactions when a problem occurs. Recognize them and do not panic. Breathing and meditation can help relax your brain and get the power to bounce back.
Challenges can occur daily in your teaching career: Think about situations that might happen and let you down if you don’t have the strength to bounce back.
Letting go of the past:
We all come with baggage; past experiences that haunt us over and over again. The contents of our baggage are different though. Some get heavier and heavier as the time passes and harder to carry. Even if you try a different way to carry it, moving from one hand to the other or putting it on your back, it’s still there to go on with it. The moment arrives when you have to say stop; you put it down and get rid of the excess weight. This is a moment of awareness when you look into your baggage and realize that you carry so many useless burdens with you for so many years.
Resilience means that you have the power within you to let go of the past and forgive yourself and others. It serves you no longer, especially when it is heavy and not supportive of you. This doesn’t mean it is an easy path.
Forgiveness is the key if you truly want to release your baggage.
Challenges, not problems:
Our mind is constricted by the words we use. One of the words that stop us from being creative and looking for possibilities is the word “problem”. Problem is a restrictive word that sets up limits. It has a negative connotation used when something goes wrong. The word problem drives us to excuses and blame that take our energy and enthusiasm. A switch of the mindset comes when we change the word problem with the word “challenge”. The situation will no longer be a “problem”, but a challenge to overcome, something that breaks barriers and limits, opening up opportunities.
A resilient teacher is challenged by situations. This is focusing on the positive aspects in spite of adversity.
With the hope that I have awakened your interest, follow me for new episodes in which I will detail new personality traits of a resilient teacher,