Do you Teach with Empathy?

Here are some tips to help students feel understood can be challenging.

Sometimes it's a real challenge to help students feel understood. Here are
some tips:

  • Teach students to be aware of others' feelings
  • Point out prejudices and stereotypes. 
  • Help students and staff recognize how prejudices and stereotypes can be limiting and hurtful
  • Connect with students personally.
  • Encourage students to share with each other.
  • Inspire them to put themselves in others' shoes.
  • Develop different perceptions of situations. 
  • Learn to recognize opportunities for improving the emotional climate in situations that you have been reacting to in a habitual way.
  • Notice how some situations cause you to feel that you must respond in an immediate, urgent way—when, in fact, you can take time to de-escalate the situation. Often these are situations involve challenges to your authority.
  • Learn more about the psychology of bullies and oppositional children.
  • Many bullies are actually seeking belonging, a need which teachers can help them fill in a constructive manner.
  • If you are personally high in empathy, your biggest job may be learning to have good boundaries and enforcement of rules in a manner that helps build children's' self-reliance and problem-solving.
  • If your focus is more on rules and enforcement and you tend to think of children as being either good or bad, your biggest job, where empathy is concerned, may be to put more time into imagining the motives and familial background that drives childrens' difficult behaviors. This can lead to new constructive responses on the part of teachers.