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Becoming Educators Our Students Need

Last updated on November 22, 2021

The book Becoming the Educator They Need (Robert Jackson, ASCD) has fantastic nuggets you will need to continue your success thus far in the school year. Particularly, chapters three and four dig into developing mindsets of culturally responsive educators and challenges readers to apply that mindset to build strong relationships with students and other staff members. These mindsets are critical if we want to identify and address bias in our own lives. 

Jackson challenges readers with this notion: “You can’t live in your humility and your pride at the same time.” 

In other words, the two can’t coexist. You must make a choice. No one can make you humble. You must choose to be humble. The reality is that many educators live in their pride. You are living in your pride if you are:

  • Self-Centered
  • Arrogant
  • Easily offended
  • Always upset
  • Bitter
  • Hurt
  • Timid

Continuing in the next section, Jackson says:

When a [student] offends you, remove yourself from the center and don’t play the victim. You will no longer be offended or hurt because you understand that kids are coming in with baggage and trust issues and that it takes time to build bonds with them. You understand that it is not about you. Kids can say what they want, but you know they are lashing out in fear and not you.

Becoming the educator they need, p54

Jackson begins to elaborate on how he addresses these outbursts in his chapter on coaching and encouraging students. Many of these lessons align with what we’ve all been learning about Trauma and, particularly, dysregulation:

I taught them that their choices, not the color of their skin, would define their future success. I taught them that their family dysfunction was not their dysfunction. I taught them that their words would dictate their futures – if you want to be great, speak greatness over your life. The words that you speak should reflect the greatness over the life you seek.

Becoming the educator they need, p61

As we head into the holidays, here are positive words from Johnson which may help you build your own spirit:

  • I’m that one caring adult my students need for success
  • I will be the best educator I can be.
  • I find fulfillment in being an educator.’
  • My work makes a difference.
  • I love and appreciate my students and staff
  • My students succeed because of my guidance and leadership.
  • I am a great educator who cares.
  • I am smart.
  • I can do all things.
  • Every student can be a success story.
  • I will block out negative advice and avoid negative people.
  • My leadership makes a difference.
  • I work hard on behalf of my students and staff.
  • I believe in my ability to be a change agent.
  • I will take better care of myself.
  • I will not play the victim!
  • When I need breaks and vacations, I will take them and come back to school recharged, refreshed, and ready to go to the next level.
  • My students will not be negative statistics.
  • I will hire the right staff to work with my students.

The whole book can be summarized in these last lines: “Don’t take students’ actions personally. If you continually work on your responses and build trust, you will be highly effective in what you do,” (p. 70). We are models for students from pre-k through graduation. If we can learn to model how to regulate our responses to students, when they’re feeling glad to be in school or when they’re angry, we become more effective in everything else we do.

This is a short book and well worth reading if some of this post resonated with you. You can get a copy from one of the SEL team members.


Other resources:


Reflecting flickr photo by evans.photo shared under a Creative Commons (BY-NC-ND) license

One Comment

  1. Mindy King

    Thank you for sharing this! I think many of us need to hear these words and reflect on our own actions and decisions before we can truly help others effectively. Relationships are integral to education and the challenges we are facing today.

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