It’s in our nature, as human beings, to be in constant judgement of others. We constantly compare and contrast ourselves to those around us, checking out their actions and words and forming an almost instant conclusion about them. Many times when it comes to people we’ve known for years we may even subconsciously seek for affirmations that unknowingly justify our beliefs, that they are indeed how we perceive them to be.
In his book, ‘This Much I Know About Love over Fear…Creating a Culture for Truly Great Teaching’ John Tomsett, talks about how in order to further improve and develop as teachers we must focus on the practice itself and not the individual teacher. He talks about how important it is to refer to teaching rather than individual teachers and that when it comes to judging, our focus should be on the practice itself rather than the person. What an impeccably simple yet immensely liberating idea!
He goes on to say that, recognising your weaknesses in classroom practice does not make you flawed, it allows for improvement and that it is something all great teachers have in common. In agreement with Tomsett, I believe that improving teaching in order to help pupils’ learning is every teacher’s desire. In order to do that, however, one has to first come to terms with the simple notion that a flaw in our teaching is not a flaw in us.
Most effective people have that ability, to look at events and not at personalities. They avoid judging a person and focus entirely on the action or practice. I don’t think that it is an easy thing to do, but I think it’s something we can all work on.
Pupils are so used to being judged, since their whole academic life requires them to please others with their behaviour, performance, ideas etc. Imagine their surprise, when a teacher crosses their path who does not judge them but acknowledges their difficulties and helps them in the best possible way.
An effective teacher believes that their role is to spark their pupils’ curiosity and fuel their love for learning. The effective teacher understands very clearly that a pupil who has difficulties at school, with appropriate intervention, may not have them in future. Therefore, an effective teacher will not judge the pupil and form a rigid opinion about their current ability but respond to their current performance the best way they can. This teacher is a team player who is non-judgemental, shares best practices, helping to cultivate a growing school culture – a culture of being the best you can be.
Are you that teacher?
Till next time…