At times we all want the ability to influence others. Especially children under our supervision. This desire generally comes from a good place. We want to protect our pupils so we can keep them safe and guide them towards future success.
If we don’t feel we have the power to influence them, how will they learn the ‘right’ way? The fear that we have little or no influence can cause us to get frustrated. Without feeling empowered to influence it’s fairly common to resign oneself to the conclusion that we must regain control by using scare tactics or punishment systems, but this type of control may come at the expense of a healthy and supportive relationship. If we understand our great power to influence and use it well, things start to change for the better.
Our guidance will be successful when, and only when, the pupil trusts us enough to listen to what we’re saying and take it on board. They will trust us when we start giving them what they need when they need it. Most probably what they need is increased confidence in their ability and a sense of self-worth, especially when they’re struggling. Make sure they know that you like them and have their best interests at heart.
2. Use behaviour as a guide
Behaviour lets us know where people are at. If you’re experiencing poor behaviour from a pupil, that’s a signal for you that they’re struggling. When they’re struggling what they probably need most is extra support instead of extra condemnation or punishment.
3. Stay calm!
Our influence is at its most powerful when we’re calm and in control of ourselves. When we’re feeling relaxed we can calmly let others know what we expect. We can let others know what we like and what we don’t like, what we want and why. Letting go of our own fears and frustrations would set a wonderful example and will help set them up for the future happiness and success we hope for.
4. Accepting our differences
Teachers are there to teach and to guide their pupils, but not to mould them into ‘perfect’ people by their own standards. Pupils may not fit perfectly into our model of the world, but why should they? They have their own model and they are free to choose who they become. Live and let live and embrace physical and emotional diversity.