- Writing for Edutopia, second-year teacher Andrea Marshbank shares the lessons she has learned about including compassion in classroom management.
- Striving to understand the daily challenges that students face can improve relationships between teachers and students and help students see that teachers teach because they care.
- However, demonstrating compassion is not the same thing as seeking the friendship of students, a situation that can lead to a lack of mutual respect.
Striking the right balance between being an authority figure and a friendly mentor can be difficult, especially for beginning teachers. Some come across as strict or coldly dispassionate, while other teachers lose all effectiveness when they become student-pleasers.
Some people argue that compassion is not only a desirable trait in a leader, it is a necessary one. With all the focus on social-emotional learning in the classroom, it is easy to forget that teachers are the best models of such behavior. And it benefits not just students, but teachers as well.
Patricia Jennings and Mark Greenberg, leading scientists in the field of social-emotional learning, claim teachers who possess social-emotional competencies (SEC) are less likely to experience burnout because they’re able to work more effectively with challenging students — a leading cause of burnout, according to an article in Greater Good magazine.
Principals and other school administrators can apply these lessons, as well. In the past, a principal may have commonly been seen as a fearful figure in the front office who punished offenders. Today, principals are better served by building relationships with students. This relationship-building allows students to feel more invested in the school and more engaged in the process of their education.