Everyone needs to wield effective influence. I have a friend who teaches university courses. She is an introvert. In reflecting on her career, she told me there was a time when she would walk to her classroom with dread. Teaching was her job and she did her duty. She prepared good content and delivered it clearly. Then she walked away exhausted.
She make a discovery. Good teaching is about more than good content. A great teacher is a leader who nurtures a community of learning. She says, “I had to learn how to show up.”
She told me that teaching is an emotional task. Students need to receive positive energy. When they do they feel loved. They need the teacher to be enthusiastic about the content and about the students. Positive energy turns a conventional classroom into a learning community. When a teacher learns to access and give away positive energy, the students begins to share positive energy with each other and with the teacher. The teacher leaves the classroom with more energy than she put in.
My friend learned to envision herself sharing emotional energy. Then she would go to class and do it. In reflecting on her experience, she said, “During the semesters when I am teaching, I feel and perform better in all aspects of my life.”
I asked for clarification. She spoke of gearing up for every class by engaging in emotional self-elevation and leaving every class even more elevated. This positivity spills into everything else she does because she is able to bring a more authentic version of herself to every interaction.
She said, “I am able to share an unfiltered version of myself. In the classroom, for example, I share intimate stories about my love for my children. I tell the students of the potential I see in my children and how committed I am to help them realize their potential. I then tell them that as a teacher I feel the same way about them. My goal is to have authentic conversations, to see their potential, and then do whatever is necessary to help them realize their potential. They know I am telling the truth and they begin to blossom.”
- Did you ever have any teachers who brought positive energy to the classroom? How did you respond?
- Have you ever had a boss who was invested in the realization of your potential, how did you respond?
- How could you show up differently today and what difference would it make?
- How could we use this passage to create a more positive organization?