Last night’s Blinkist was “Onward” by Elena Aguilar and it is about cultivating emotional resilience in educators. Kinda hit home because I’m currently teaching full time while running my online business and although I teach young adults, all teachers will face pretty similar emotional issues. Moreover, students can pick up on your attitude and emotions, even if they can’t put it down to words. I have found that when I have a positive attitude towards the class that I’m teaching, I often will get positive attitudes back – which is important for both teacher and student.
To summarise, the 7 key ideas in the book are:
- Understanding the cycle of emotions is key to building resilience
- Build resilience by cultivating a sense of community
- Mindfulness helps us weather adversity and understand our emotions
- Practicing self-care is important, but it may not come naturally
- Boost your happiness and performance by making time to play
- Build resilience to change by pausing, evaluating and making your energy count
- Make your school a better place by practicing gratitude
I find that point 5 is kinda hard but it is what I’ve been intending to do with my 2021 Action Plan. According to the author, “playing” is not simply sitting in front of the telly and binging on Netflix but rather, an activity that requires a bit more energy (not passively sitting down) and is not competitive nor does it have an exact purpose (e.g. exercising to stay healthy). So we’re talking activities such as singing (oh when can we freely go karaoke without swabbing?), dancing or playing games.
The hardest, in my opinion, is the last point about practicing gratitude. It is easier if a colleague is leaving or going to another faculty/department because you can send a thank you message etc. However, what Aguilar is referring to is simple gratitude and praises to people that you may not necessarily think of expressing. The example in the book was how you can tell someone “I’m so grateful for your warm welcome everyday, you really brighten up my morning.”
Seems simple enough to do. (0_o) But…how many of us would be willing to put in that effort to look for all the small things around us that we might actually be grateful for? Nonetheless, I think I’m just going to start small by looking for these small things and acknowledging them in my heart first. Maybe one day, I will be more courageous to say it out loud. Small steps!!
If you’re a new teacher or coach, I would recommend taking a read so that you can have the emotional tools to deal with all the types of issues that we teachers face. Jiayou!