Thursday, November 7, 2013

Self Confidence and Modeling: Yes, Teachers I Am Talking To You!

I have given two presentations over the last few weeks that each contained a section about me speaking on teachers modeling their message and how they work and operate. Throughout these two presentations, further reading, and conversations that have occurred from these I want to call out a few things that I am still working through.

The issues
  • Cannot identify a problem and come up with a solution
  • Have a hard time thinking on their own
  • We want freedom, but forget that creativity does require constraints
  • If you don't care, then they don't care
  • A culture must be developed
  • Teamwork and Collaboration skills are lacking
These are issues that are nothing new when it comes to education and problems facing some of our schools and classrooms. 

What I want to include here is the missing link to all of this and in no way am I trying to be degrading or negative because I am still very much an educator, but

These issues exist for both students and educators. Yes, I am calling everyone out on this. 

The reason it is a problem is because modeling of confidence, belief, and being a game changer is not happening. Modeling is not happening because so many don't have these skills in the first place to model. If we want students to change and not be this way, then educators need to share their ways in which they do these very things. The reason they don't is because many lack the same exact skills to help students in the first place.

A major obstacle is that many lack the confidence to model and celebrate their successes and failures. It is not so much that educators don't have the skills to model, create change, and lead by example, but many lack the confidence to share it out. It is instead much easier to complain about why kids are not doing this or that. Perhaps many should watch the TED talk "Skill of Self Confidence"

What I like about this video is when he says, "without skill of self confidence you are useless". To develop self confidence requires repetition, repetition, repetition. He dabbles further into the idea of self talk. Why would we want to talk negatively to ourselves when so many already do this already?

Back to the issues stated above.

It is easy for educators to complain about this or that, but hard to actually solve the problem.

Many educators don't really want to think on their own. When given the freedom to develop things on their own, they panic and just want to be told what to do.

If you are teaching content you don't care about, students pick up on that and they don't care either. Now we have a huge issue of dealing with many factors.

Educators are the worse at true collaboration and teamwork. So many meetings are wasted with minutes spent on venting, chatting, and side talk. This happens because we are stuck in a constant cycle of mandatory meetings that lead absolutely nowhere. If we scaled back meetings and take time to teach how to really work together and collaborate then I think things would change. When we learn how to make better make use of time, then we can begin to model with students.

I don't want this to come across negative or bashing. What I am stressing here is that schools, student teacher prep courses, and professional development really need to be spent on the soft skills. These soft skills translate to real world skills that evolve and enhance all the mandatory skills that get reported on standardized testing. These skills will improve because teachers will be modeling learning and thinking. It is a worthwhile investment that will not only benefit education, but society and culture. Often times the very issues that create stress for teachers in the classroom are the same issues taking place among the staff as well.

Just think about it.

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