Lead with Empathy

Hello Amazing Teachers! Long time no write! We have let the blog fall to the wayside as we have been navigating big changes in our lives. Now that we are getting settled into our new home and I am feeling inspired to share something with all of you! If you are teaching online, and moreover teaching Chinese children and/or adults on line, you are all too aware of the impact the CORVID-19 has had. For many teachers this has meant an increase in bookings. In a sense this has benefited us to some extent. In the same breath I think we are experience some restlessness from our students. This can come out in many different ways. I have seen some teachers struggling to deal with some of the behaviours of their students during this time. One word comes to mind when I think of how I will handle each class… empathy. This is crucial in dealing with students going through this time.

Passing stress down

When faced with students that were more rambunctious or unruly than usual, I was reminded of a time in my own life when things were not very easy and thus my life impacted my young daughter. As adults we try to shield our children from the stress of daily life, from the stress of parenthood and in my case single parenthood. However, I believe we too easily overlook how perceptive kids are. They see through the forced smiles, they feel the stress you are in. They don’t really know what this feeling is, just that it is there. Kids don’t always know how to deal with these feelings. Stress doesn’t mean anything to a young child, but the feeling still exists. They hear the muffled converstaions of the adults, talking about this and that. Situations that are beyond a childs comprehension. However, still feel and perhaps even more intensly than we do as adults.

As a very young and single mother, life was anything but easy. There were several factors to this, from dealing with a high stress corporate job to dealing with the lack of a father figure. This impacted my daughters behavior both in and out of school, although most days she was a pure joy to be around. One day, as I approach the school to pick up my daughter, the teacher meets me outside and says “Can we talk?” My  heart sank to my feet. Tear welled in my eyes and I thought, I CAN’T TAKE ANY MORE BAD NEWS! But then she says to me in a soft and reassuring voice; “Audry is acting out more than usual, we really care about her and you. Is there anything going on at home you can talk to us about so we can better handle the situation here at school.” Again, tears came to my eyes, only this time it was because someone showed empathy towards me and more importantly wanted to discipline with an empathetic hand. That is not to say you don’t dicispline during these times, but you try to understand where this behavior is sprouting up from. I can never forget how relieved I was to have such caring teachers by my daughters side. I will forever remember them, as will my daughter.

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Written by Sarah
Hello, my name is Sarah, to my students, I am Teacher Sarah. I began this journey simply because teaching has always been a dream of mine. Life had other lessons for me to learn before arriving here. My life experiences are one of the things that make me an excellent teacher. Teaching online opens new doors for those of you out there with a heart for teaching and a desire to adventure this big beautiful world. Teaching online allows so much freedom, all while changing the lives of students and teachers all around the world. I want to share my journey in online teaching, living outside the lines, and doing what makes me happy.
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