Relationships and Teaching

I know that I have beaten this theme over the head time and time again and yet here I am, returning to the scene of the bludgeoning.  The difference – this time?  I am going further than simply suggesting good teaching comes out of good relationship.  This time I am suggesting that your entire well being and health comes out of good relationships.  That’s right, I said it, YOUR ENTIRE WELL BEING!!!

I know what you are thinking, “Why Dave, that’s crazy!  Our entire well being? What about the piece of us that finds great joy in listening to music?  What about the part of us that finds peace in quiet reflection and prayer? ”  Well, you have a point and could likely challenge me on this premise but any one who knows me knows I have a tendency to jump in with both feet.  Hyperbole is my favorite figure of speech.  All I am suggesting is that, humans are communal by their nature and that when we create dissonance in our dealings with others, we are creating dissonance in ourselves – in our well being.

One of the main reasons I am bringing this up again is that I stumbled across a great blog by Jim Knight (actually it was referred to me by a friend – thanks friend). In this blog, Jim refers to John Gottman in his book The Relationship Cure.  Gottman writes;

Complex, fulfilling relationships don’t suddenly appear in our lives fully formed.  Rather, they develop one encounter at a time.

What he is referring to is that EVERY interaction we have with another human being; every email, every smile, every roll of the eyes, every act of kindness, shapes our relationships.  It’s the detail that got to me here.  I started looking at my life and the way I treat those around me and I thought “hmmm, have I sent a eye roll to someone who frustrates me at times?  Have I dismissed someone’s opinion simply by smiling and carrying on?” I have, and truthfully, never thought a moment about how that impacts my relationship with the person in the long run.  So, I have vowed to be more aware of the impact my every day dealing with people has on their well being, and mine.

Now, easy to make the transfer to a classroom, traditional or transformative.  Every little interaction that you as a teacher have with a child is about their well being.  That warm smile in the hall between classes, the laugh you share in a great dialogue or the forgiveness that you show a student who is late, all of these are moments where you can build up someone image of who they are.  In the same light, every dismissive shrug, every stone cold stare and every roll of the eyes has the same power to affect a students self image.

On the whole, teachers are GREAT at building students up but it never hurts to remind yourself that what you do matters.  Here’s a favorite video to back me up.  If it happens on TV, it must be real . . . right?

Keep on learning,


Interesting Reads

Mindsets - Carol Dweck
Teaching Boys who struggle in School - Kathleen Palmer Cleveland
Drive - Daniel Pink
Outliers - Malcolm Gladwell



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