I have had this blog post cued up since FEBRUARY, yes February. Obviously I haven’t blogged since then. That is partially because this particular post gave me pause and partially because of life. I am committed to blogging. The fact that I am now over 20 posts behind won’t deter me though! I am stubborn like that.
Now I should say that when I say “cued up” I mean it had a title and image and a greeting. There was no substance to the post what so ever. The subject I want to write about has not changed in all the months that have passed, though I think I kind of wanted it to. Let me first outline the instructions on this topic as given by The Edublogger:
Challenges come in all shapes and sizes. Sometimes, the biggest challenge of the day is getting out of bed with a positive attitude. Sometimes, the daily challenge is going to be having to work with a difficult student. Sometimes, the challenge lies in teaching a topic or skill or unit that you really don’t enjoy. Learning strategies to address these challenges is the way in which we overcome them.
Prompt: Write a post about challenging situations.
Here are some ideas or topics you may wish to include:
- Share your biggest teaching challenge and explain how you overcame it
- Write a motivational “how-to” for overcoming a common challenging situation.
- Do a review on a book or website that has helped you overcome a challenging situation. What was the challenge? How did the book/website help you?
- Discuss any thoughts or experiences you have about challenges in education.
- Talk about a time when a student was facing a challenge and you provided strategies to help the student. What were they? How did they help?
One of my biggest challenges is working with challenging people. I am someone who avoids confrontation. Over my 17+ years as an educator I have worked with a variety of educators and administrators. I am happy to say that I have gotten along with the majority of the educators, administrators and parents I have worked with over the years. I am sure I am not alone in having a small population of educators, administrators and parents that proved to be rather challenging.
When it comes to challenging parents, my approach is different than when it comes to challenging educators and administrators. The reason being is that I tend to just ignore challenging educators and administrators to the best of my ability, and you can’t do that to a challenging parent. Now I am sure you are reading this and asking yourself “how does she ignore challenging educators and administrators?” Let me address challenging parents first.
When it comes to a challenging parent, I make sure to hear them out, no matter how abrasive (and I have had some bad ones). I always make sure my administrator is aware. I take time to not immediately reply to a challenging parent as I know my immediate response/reaction would likely escalate things. I take the time to read or listen to the message a few times, process it, think about what I am going to say, then choose my words carefully. In a live situation where the parent is in front of me, I take the time to listen to them and let them say their piece. I work very hard to respond in a thoughtful and deliberate way, choosing my words carefully. I try to resolve the issue myself as much as possible, but I am not hesitant to involve my administrator if the situation becomes too much for me to handle on my own or is of a sensitive nature.
On the subject of educators and administrators, my approach has been completely different. I avoid people. I may have a conflict with an educator or administrator, and once that climactic moment has passed I avoid them. I am not saying this is the best tactic, it is just something I do and something I want to change.
I am an aspiring administrator and I recently went to a series of workshops my district hosted for teachers who are thinking about becoming administrators. One of the highlights of this series was being introduced to the notion of emotional intelligence. I had never heard of this before and was immediately intrigued. According to Psychology Today, Emotional Intelligence is defined as:
Emotional intelligence is the ability to identify and manage your own emotions and the emotions of others. It is generally said to include three skills: emotional awareness; the ability to harness emotions and apply them to tasks like thinking and problem solving; and the ability to manage emotions, which includes regulating your own emotions and cheering up or calming down other people.
As a part of the workshop I was in, I was to read the Emotional Intelligence 2.0 book by Travis Bradberry & Jean Greaves. I was also to take the Emotional Intelligence Appraisal. The appraisal was very accurate and pinpointed my known weaknesses when it comes to my own emotional intelligence and how I react to things. I found the appraisal very useful for my own personal development. I am a work in progress and I believe that so long as I am aware of my emotional intelligence and work toward strengthening it, that will make me a better administrator in the future. It will also make me better able to deal with challenging situations.
Have you assessed your own emotional intelligence? Tell me about it in the comments!
Thanks for reading!
2 thoughts on “Challenging Situations”
Hi, Mélanie. Thank you for your thoughtful post. I’ve also chose the “Challenging Situations” topic at #EdublogsClub. I belong to the INFP personality type, the one who is most likely to avoid open conflicts. However, I also use, as yourself, to work hard to respond, using my words carefully. I also use to focus in the best qualities of the challenging person for a while, until I deliberately develop a sincere appreciation towards her. Only then I dare to approach to engage dialogue. My school is working the topic of “Living Values”, as a global theme for this school year, so I’m also digging in what is at stake with Emotional Intelligence and SEL, mainly through prof. Maurice Elias. Meanwhile, I will look for the authors you mentioned.
Thanks for reading and commenting Ines! I am an INFJ so I am right there with you in avoiding conflicts. I left the classroom to be a teacher on assignment before I had a chance to knowingly employ any SEI strategies into my daily routine. Our students need that so badly. As a teacher and a mother I have seen just how much SEI must be a part of a student’s school day.
I love your school’s global theme! Sounds like a great one. I will have to look up Maurice Elias as well. Thank you for sharing with me! 🙂