Remember when your teacher scolded you for an assignment you did but forgot to bring? It made you feel sad or at least scared for a moment. You then made sure that you never forgot your assignments again and started double-checking your bag every morning.
Children always remember how they are treated. The nature of the treatment they receive from their peers, teachers, and parents shapes their psychological and behavioral aspects. To help the young ones grow up to be confident, kind, and healthy adults, they must be encouraged to do well in every aspect of their lives gently. This is where empathy comes into the picture.
Since children spend most of their time in their school, teachers have the most significant impact on their lives. An empathetic teacher thus can help students realize their full potential and become the best version of themselves.
What is empathy?
Empathy is the key element of emotional intelligence that enables people to understand others’ emotions and perspectives. When a teacher is empathetic in the classroom, they can understand the students better and provide them with personalized solutions for academic and personal problems. Such teachers ensure that their students have holistic growth that incorporates mental and emotional progress.
As the tender minds of children are still growing, they are delicate and malleable. Everything that happens to them during this time stays as an imprint with them. Any traumatic experience becomes an obstacle to their growth. Thus, teachers mustn’t be too harsh with their students so that there are no barriers to the child’s psychological growth.
Empathy in teaching
Showing interest in listening and helping someone with their destructive thoughts by accepting all different opinions will allow teachers to nurture students. It’s not easy to respond to students with empathy all the time. Teachers must make the efforts to cultivate the following qualities in them.
1. Listen actively: Keep your ego aside because an elder should listen first. It always provides solutions to all problems.
2. Withhold judgment: It’s always too soon to judge a student. Listening to them carefully and not coming to a conclusion about their problems can be taxing. But, the fear of judgment in the children could create unbridgable gaps between students and teachers.
3. Be understanding:
No matter what, the commitment to show trust within students and to be understanding is the need of the hour. Children just need constant and consistent support to understand and get through what they feel.
4. Ask open-ended questions: Asking students open-ended questions will give them clarity to think. It will allow them to distinguish between the situation they face and the confusing emotions they are going through.
Students look up to their teacher as a superior figure that keeps them safe and supports them. But when the same person discards their struggles and concerns, they might grow to be fearful and sometimes shut off completely. A lack of empathy on the teachers’ side can also lead students to become apathetic and start harming their peers.
Thus, incorporating empathy in teaching and schools isn’t a choice but is an essential step toward helping the next generation become the best and the most considerate kind of adults in the future.
At Great Principals, we hope to bring about a necessary change in the ways of Indian Education. Each new generation is far more capable than the last, and we owe it to evolution. But as humans evolve, we are required to transcend from our old ways and look at things from a different perspective, one that shapes the untapped minds of the children for the ever-growing world.
We are here to capture the journeys of marvelous School Leaders and Principals through an interactive talk show. We hope to inspire the parents who are the true changemakers in a child’s growing life. Our goal is to bring about a much-needed change in the way we educate our kids. Feel free to check out our episodes on YouTube www.youtube.com/c/GreatPrincipals