Teacher Therapy (written by Karen Katafiasz)

  1. To spend your life doing what matters is the greatest of all achievements.  Teaching matters.
  2. Remember those teachers who influenced your life for the good.  What did they do?  How did they give you what you needed?  Follow their example.
  3. Be aware that you teach so much more than a subject.  You are opening minds and hearts, you are shaping lives.
  4. Radiate enthuasiam for your life – and for engaging students in learning and in life.  Your students – and you – will be so much richer.
  5. Be passionate about the subject matter that you teach.  Excitement is contagious.
  6. Listen to and respect your students’ dreams.  Then challenge them to reach even higher.
  7. Children need healthy structure and guidelines to learn and to grow well.  Give your students rules that are firm, fair and consistent.
  8. Act with honesty, justice, and integrity.  By doing so, you teach these values without effort.
  9. Use good organisation to increase your effectiveness and give your day structure.  If you take work home, make a conscious decision to do so.  You need time off to stay fresh and avoid burnout.
  10. When you ask your students to be responsible, you must be responsible to them.  Honor your commitments; keep your promises.
  11. Teaching is demanding – take care of yourself physically.  Have a healthy lunch, make time for exercise, get enough rest.
  12. Take care of yourself spiritually. Centre yourself in God; be aware of God’s presence in your classroom.
  13. Students need a classroom where they feel welcomed, safe, respected, challenged.  Make your classroom that place.
  14. You have a great deal of power in the classroom – power to set the tone, power to make a child’s time there miserable or joyful. Use your power for good.
  15. Teach our students that it’s alright to make mistakes.  Mistakes aren’t reasons for shame but chances to learn and do better.
  16. There will be times when you won’t easily relate to a student.  Be aware of your feelings and preferences, and try to transcend them by striving to give every child equal attention and equal treatment.
  17. Offer basic acceptance to your students – not necessarily of their behaviour but always of their being, their very existence.  Even when you don’t like your students, you can love them.
  18. There can be so much tugging at your students’ minds and hearts – troubled family situations, changing friendships, uncertainties, doubts and fears.  Be aware of them as whole persons.
  19. Realise that for some students, school is a respite, a place for safety.  Keep it a safe place for them to reveal themselves and to be themselves.
  20. Each day, you have the opportunity to offer your students the world, to give life-changing knowledge and experiences.  Relish the possibilities.
  21. Help your students to discover their strengths, to achieve, to excel.  Satisfaction at what they accomplish will give them self-esteem.
  22. School can be the place where your students learn they’re worthwhile and where they can count unhealthy lessons they’re learning elsewhere.  Give them that chance.
  23. Take care of yourself mentally.  Keep learning; follow your own interests.  This will enhance and energize your life and give you new dimensions to share with your students.
  24. Remember that your students are still learning and developing.  Be patient with growing minds and spirits.
  25. Humour can be a powerful tool.  Use it gently, wisely and never to hurt.
  26. Take care of yourself psychologically.  Deal with your own needs and issues, so that you don’t try to get your needs met by your students.
  27. Look to your fellow teachers for support, understanding, advice, and laughter.  They can be sources of wisdom and strength.
  28. Feel good about yourself; give yourself a solid grounding in knowing you are OK.  People feel good about you when you feel good about yourself.
  29. Realise that when you’re secure, you can deal with a child’s insecurity; when you’re at ease, you can reassure a child’s fear.  Taking care of yourself helps your students.
  30. Countless times during the day, you face the choice; you can value or you can humiliate; you can affirm or you can dehumanize.  Make your choice consciously.
  31. Remember how difficult it can be to be a child – how fragile and vulnerable children are in a world where they don’t know all the rules, where they’e unsure of themselves but don’t want to show it.  In this world,you can be a caring guide.
  32. When the day is difficult, when your morale is low, recall why you became a teacher.  Recall the times you knew this had been the right choice.
  33. Recognise that you are the adult and your students are still children.  But recognise also that you have an inner child that needs your attention and care.  Don’t let your needy inner child interact with your students.
  34. Know that your students are smart in different ways.  Use different learning techniques to reach all the types of intelligence they have: verbal, logical, visual, bodily, musical, interpersonal and self.
  35. Cherish each student’s uniqueness as part of the rich diversity of God’s creation.  Affirm all children’s uniqueness, their varied talents, their different cultural backgrounds.
  36. Inspire your students.  Let them know that they can make a difference, that the world can be better because of their existence.
  37. Believe in the limitless potential of human beings.  When you expect the best from your students, you’ll get it.
  38. You have the ability to touch lives in countless, wonderful ways. Give thanks that you’re a teacher!

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