• Posted 14/07/2017 10:26am

Teaching by instinct

I have been waiting to find myself in a place or readiness but realised that I will most likely never be ready so have decided to start.  My blogs don't represent any ‘one truth’ I have decided to speak from the heart and see where that leads.  I will be drawing on 20 years of experience in the classroom and reflect on the things that I perceive have persistent value or, lack of it, in the life of both a teacher and student in the classroom.  I will also be drawing from my journey as a mother and from authors I respect.

In all my writing I do not claim to be right, I just aim to be honest and begin to trust my instincts and inner voice.  So, there you have it, let’s start with the inner voice.

I wish I had used and trusted my inner voice and instincts from the very outset of my teaching career.  I think my students would have been nurtured and supported in a way more consistent with their needs.  I think I would have created deeper relationships because I would have found time to stop and really listen to my students. I would have been able to work fluidly and sensitively with the child rather than against them.  Instead, I took it for granted that my responsibilities as a teacher to deliver a curriculum and achieve good results were central to the growth of the student and in doing so I created an environment with firm boundaries and consistent expectations but lacking in understanding, flexibility, trust, and relationship.  It’s not that I didn’t have these things to some measure, I just didn’t have them in bucket loads. 

As I began to trust my instincts and listen to my inner voice I began to appreciate the deeper needs of my students and to understand the value of nurturing.    This is where our instinct and inner voice plays an important part in our teaching.  I can think of many instances in my teaching where giving a student a telling off in front of the class, or sending them off to the principal office with a note was completely justified and encouraged by the school rules. But I felt guilty and knew deep down this child needed strong leadership but with a gentle hand.   Don’t get me wrong, I believe in strong leadership, setting boundaries and letting the students know I am in charge.  I’m not talking about that.  I realised, just as we need relationship, respect, and have limits, so do our students.  Compassion, love, gentleness, respect, patience, understanding, trust and an open mind to listen to our students go a long way to creating an amazing learning environment that is rich with life and joy.  With this in place dealing with difficult behaviour becomes so much easier because we have the buy-in of the student to work with us and accept change. 

By trusting my instincts and listening to my inner voice I became a bold advocate for my students and experienced an incredible depth of human connection.  Everything else fell into place. 

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