Working in the education sector can be challenging for a number of reasons. If you are not within the field yourself, you probably do not consider all the ways that education is such a personal, connecting, occupation or how much emotional investment it involves. No matter what the age of the kids are or how heavily involved you are as an educator, it can be easy to become attached and very friendly with students and families. The younger the children, often times the harder it is to not feel like you play a large role in shaping their intelligence and personality. In any setting where you are spending an extended period of time with someone on a daily basis, you form attachments and begin to let your guard down. Though I am sure you have heard it before, I want to remind you of how important it is to remain professional, and keep up an appearance that corresponds to that state of mind.
Keeping Up Appearances
Have you ever heard the expression “Fake it till you make it”? There is a lot of value in that statement regardless of how, well fake, it sounds. It does not sound like a very credible way to operate but if you apply it to the power of thought and setting it can allow you to keep up with mental boundaries through maintaining a physical presence that reflects that. If you want to be respected and seen with authority despite the fact that you may share close relationships with your students and their families, dressing professionally is a great way to start. Visit somewhere like New York and Company, or a men’s business wear store and get yourself a few versatile pieces that make you feel professional.
Do Not Play Favorites
It can be hard to attempt to be fair and even with everyone, especially if you have a large class of children and limited resources, time, or attention to give. There will always be a student who seems to need more individual attention than the rest of the class. Sometimes this results in a frustrating relationship but sometimes the amount of time you give to that student and the way the student relies on you for help forms a bond and you feel personal satisfaction when that student achieves success. That need to nurture something as it grows is innate in most educators, however it is important to see the growth in all your students equally. Just because it may take less effort to get other students to the same point does not mean it has to be less fulfilling.
Have a Good Mentor
When you spend all day immersed in the lives of other people, following a routine in a system that can sometimes feel stifling, it is important to have an outlet where you can not only vent, but receive healthy construction feedback and advice. Someone who understands the daily struggles of being an educator is ideal so that they can offer insight from experience and not just speculation. Without the ability and space to have these important conversations, things can build up and cause you to take it out on the people around you, which is definitely not a professional way to handle things.