February 23, 2012

The Teacher's Personality

“The teacher should generate as positive a personality as possible in working with students. Negative aspect detract and should be eliminated. It is helpful to portray the following qualities:
Be pleasant. A pleasant attitude is one of the most valuable attributes a teacher can possess. A genuine display of kindness can often defuse even the most hostile and disagreeable child. Although moods vary greatly from day to day, teachers need to conduct themselves with as much poise and self-control as possible when dealing with others. (including parents!!!)
Be enthusiastic. An enthusiastic person is one who evidences a positive, bright outlook in relationships with others.
Be encouraging. Realistic encouragement whenever possible is a sign of an outgoing personality. Rather than trying to get results by negative remarks, the positive teacher can bolster and uplift the student with encouraging remarks.
Be patient. Working with children either privately or in groups can be trying at times. An understanding teacher will “keep cool” and not resort to negative remarks.”
Adapted from How to Teach Piano Successfully by James W. Bastien

I am sure that describes all of you wonderful teachers out there, right? You always have a neat house or studio, a smiling face and a positive word, no matter what is going on around you.  :) You might be thinking, “And what did he dream the next night??” Often we find ourselves clearing books and papers off the piano for a student’s lesson, (oh, that’s where that list went!) greeting our students at the door after just dealing with a annoying tele-marketer over the phone, or just simply having a “down” day. Yes, it is true that we are never happy and pleasant all the time, nor do we deal with each situation in a positive way. We are human after all! But I believe it is so important that as we teach and interact with other people, we keep our attitudes and reactions in check.

I am teaching a young girl right now that is 12 years old, in the throes of puberty changes, and often has drastic “mood changes,” to say the least! :) If I choose to, I can watch carefully the things I say and my attitude, and keep the lesson upbeat and positive, no matter her mood when she comes in! It does take a choice on my part to not let the negatives affect me and to choose how I am going to react. But it can be done!

There is a small booklet called “Your Reactions Are Showing” (Sorry, I don’t remember the authors name!) that I have read a couple of times that contains vital information for anyone that deals with other people. Which would be pretty much everyone! The basic premise is, don’t just be concerned about your actions, but also your reactions! They tell a lot about you that you otherwise would be able to hide or mask. Keep those reactions in check!

As a teacher, how do you deal with negative attitudes or mood swings in your students? Maybe you aren’t a teacher, but are still interacting with do you keep your attitudes in check? What do you find helps you stay calm and positive? We all have areas we need to work on, and I’d love to hear your thoughts as a help to me!


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