This author is an arts teacher who is equally preoccupied in her home as she is the mother of a two-year-old daughter who constantly keeps her on her heels. Apart from her happy and close-knit family, which is the backbone of her life, her social world that is related to her work also holds a special place in her mind and heart. Just as she draws immense satisfaction in being a central figure of her family, she gets pleasure in teaching to students who give her an opportunity to learn new things everyday.
She looks forward to get immersed in this social world everyday. Due to this interest in her job, which is highly evident in her performance, she enjoys great respect and love from both her students and colleagues. This author’ s interaction in this social world is very satisfying to her and with experience of how to deal with people with different age groups and in different settings she feels very confident of dealing with people even outside this social world. She finds that children give her very valuable lessons in their own ways.
Just by observing their interaction patterns she learns a lot about human relationships and interactions. She gets a glimpse of how people feel when some one fights with them, someone is nice with them, if some one betrays them or ignores them by just observing how children behave with each other. She feels that though she is observing children she is getting a great insight about how to deal with adults as both share same emotions, the only difference is that adults try to hide their real feelings especially those of sadness, disgust or contempt while children make it easily evident.
She thinks that all of us have a child within us but age and maturity has bestowed on us the capacity to put on a social face even when we are hurt by somebody’s comments or feel neglected by the extra attention that someone else in the group is getting. So she feels that she teaches arts to children while children teach her the art of living. She also feels privileged that she is able to fill children with confidence especially those who are not good at arts and as a result suffer from inferiority complex due to this.
If children are boosted with confidence in their primitive years, only then can they gather the guts to become confident adults in future. So instead of reprimanding them as mentioned by Madon and others in Myers, “High expectations do seem to boost low achievers, for whom a teachers’s positive attitude may be a hope-giving breath of fresh air. ” (2007, p. 111) Similarly when teachers surround her in the teacher’s lounge she gets an opportunity to learn a lot about social interactions.
Since the teachers belong to different age groups and genders and possess different personality characteristics, just trying to maintain a healthy relationship with them gives her important lessons in social psychology. She tries to apply the insight she has gained through her theoretical knowledge in the practical setting of the social world of her work group, which is a bundle of varied personalities. She feels that with constant practice of dealing with this group she has become a socially intelligent person with whom everyone wants to spend time, as there is give and take of positive vibes in the process.
At the end of any social interaction one wants to feel acceptable and respected as a human being and the author thinks that with practice and improvisations in one’s verbal as well as non-verbal communication she is getting better day by day. This is evident by the quality of camaraderie she shares with everyone and the way people greet her and like her presence around them. All this contributes to her self-confidence immensely. One incident that has hugely helped her in improving her self-efficacy is as follows: Six months back a new boy got admitted to her school.
He was very restless and lacked good manners. The day when his parents came to admit him to the school they made it clear to the authorities that they were unable to handle him at home as he constantly indulged in some or the other form of misbehavior even after frequent spanking. When the authorities pointed towards the fact that too much of spanking was not good for children’s emotional growth, they said that the boy’s antics made them crazy and it was the only option left for them and soon they would understand it too. That boy was sent to this author’s class.
The first few days were really terrible with him. He lacked any sense of respect for the teacher and constantly disturbed the coherence and smooth functioning of the class. But this author took this pupil as a challenge to prove how someone lacking basic social skills can be improved by empathy, love and patience. Instead of telling him again and again that he should behave nicely in class or he should learn good manners from his classmates, the author started treating him just like others even when he did something wrong.
The fact that whatever he did, did not affect the author much gradually brought changes in his personality. He started improving. The next step that the author took was that she made him the class prefect, so instead of getting reprimanded because of his unruly behavior he started promoting good behavior in class. Hence instead of consciously making him aware of his shortcomings, the author unconsciously instilled a sense of discipline in the child. According to Pennington, et. l “Research has shown that if a person is aware that attempts are being made to condition certain aspects of behavior, conscious awareness of this can prevent conditioning taking place. (2003, p. 149. )
The author applied this very concept and the positive result was evident in a short span of time. The way the author handled this situation was highly commended by the staff of the school and she gained an important place not only in the school but also in the heart of that troublesome student and his parents. This incident helped in increasing the author’s self-efficacy to a great extent.
Courtney from Study Moose
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