Ten Tips to Enhance your Teaching Expertise
Allow children to express their feelings. As adults we learned to repress them. Encourage children to feel, express and be authentic. Let them know it’s okay to feel. It’s healthy. Be the role model you would want if you were a child.
Create a list of five beliefs (to start with) you have about teaching and children. We’re not looking for the positive ones here. We’re looking for honesty. Evaluate your list and determine if each belief works for you in teaching a child. Again, I say, be honest. Be willing to introspect and discover the source of these beliefs. You won’t have to go further than your childhood. What would have to happen for you to discard the ones that sabotage and create ones that support?
Help children retain the wisdom of knowing their true essence—love, joy and light. During those early years, children are honest, literal, present and resilient. Unfortunately, many lose that magical way of living, because of what they’ve learned. Help them to know they are powerful and can do anything they set their mind to. They will feel comfortable with this wisdom, because they know it innately. Remember, we teach what we need to learn.
The laws of the universe will provide children with everything that is real, beautiful and wise. Experience nature together with them and teach them how these laws work. We are a part of the universe and our lives operate with the same principles. There is such power in appreciation and gratitude for every thing. Life is precious. Respect every living thing. Teach them to be still, listen to their inner teacher and to trust their intuition, our sixth sense. You give them tools for life when you teach these simple truths.
Provide children with the appropriate words to express how they are feeling. Start at a very early age to offer the language that will provide them with the word that will help them share the feeling. The terrible twos don’t have to be terrible when a child has the feeling vocabulary to express him/herself. This is an opportunity for you also, to expand your feelings awareness vocabulary. It’s fun to learn together.
Teach them about taking responsibility for their actions and their thoughts. Give them the opportunity to make choices and honor those choices. Teach the principles of cause and effect. In addition, be a role model for risk taking and the benefits of it. Every word, gesture, and act is a message to children. You are an influential teacher is a child’s life. They will mirror you and reflect everything you do. They are sponges and take in all they are exposed to.
Listening is an art. How well do you truly listen? As a five year young client told me, “you have to look into each other’s eyes, then you have to stop talking, then–you have to listen.” What stands in the way of truly listening to another person are our filters, or judgments. Put them aside while listening, or notice when you are judging.
What is needed to create a joyful relationship with anyone is respect. It starts with you. If you want to be respected, you’ve got to be respectful. See another as a separate being with needs. Each has their own perceptions in which life is viewed. They may not align with yours and this is why communication is so vitally important. When we have communication, we have understanding. When we have understanding, we have compassion and when we have compassion, we have love.
Communication is expressing what is in our heart and on our mind. It is about expressing our feelings honestly and clearly. The prerequisite for communication is intention. When we put forth our ideas, it must be with the intention to be heard and understood. As we take responsibility for our communications in every way, we take responsibility for our lives. We both blame others, and circumstances, as a victim, or we take responsibility. The latter is the only place there is empowerment.
Positive reinforcement builds self-worth and self-esteem. If we can always find the positive behavior in a child, no matter how small, we will start to build a foundation of acceptance and love. No matter what the circumstance, if you can find something positive about it and place the importance there, it will take the resistance out of the situation, and change the dynamics. Miracles happen when we don’t resist.
Unconditional love is a powerful healer. It is a must while teaching a child to become an emotionally healthy adult. It does not include obligation, expectation, manipulation or conditions. It just is. Love can’t demand. Love can’t hold on to. Love and fear don’t align. Love just is. Love is inclusive, not exclusive. It is about oneness, not separation. It is all a child truly wants–to feel loved, wanted, accepted, unconditionally. You’ll have a friend in each child, once they’ve left your classroom, when they feel loved by you. You can’t give away what you don’t have. Loving another starts with loving yourself.