The candy disappeared before my very eyes. It was truly amazing. I was training a group of teachers who were a bit unhappy. Well, actually they were stressed to the max. These were great ladies. They were totally committed. They wanted to do the very best for the children in their classrooms. But stress was eating them alive- so they started eating to survive.
When working with my peeps, I like to get to know them a bit, even if I will only be in their school one time. It is important to connect with them, because often, their first few statements don’t tell the real story about why they are in my session. Teachers, just like ALL people, tend to hide their real concerns behind a facade.
So when I’m training folks, I set aside some time for sharing a little bit about ourselves (so we can begin to see behind the facade). What I noticed on this particular day was that the energy in the room was really high-strung. I could literally feel the stress in the air. And I watched the candy disappear.
As we began to share with each other, the emotions connected with working within a new district mandated program became clear. I saw the stress that was causing this dive into the candy. These folks were eating to survive. They were desperately looking for something to make them feel better; and at that moment, the candy was their only source of “feel good.” They needed reassurance that they were doing right by their children. In the absence of assurance and recognition for a job well done, candy had become their substitute. WOW! My realization of what was happening to them was a power moment.
We began to discuss what they were doing under the new program. We discussed some of the dynamics of effective instruction. We also discussed their children’s reactions to this new teaching style. Here’s what we concluded: These teachers were learning a new hands-on approach to teaching; it was no longer a “sage on the stage” environment. Teachers were taking a backseat to children, who were creating their own learning. Children were experimenting for themselves and they were also becoming proficient at communicating what they were learning.
This was scary for teachers who were used to directing all learning. They were letting go of the status quo and embracing a child centered approach. AND they were doing great! They just needed to be told. They needed to see how this new approach was meeting the needs of their children; how they were actually pushing children to new heights- even though the teachers had been so unsure in the beginning.
We spent the day matching up classroom practices with effective teaching research.
The munching slowed down. The energy began to shift. One teacher laughed; then another. We began to get deep into the practices. We worked on some real issues such as: how to conduct an effect math exploration time, when to pull small groups for extra instruction, how to meet the needs of the lowest level learner in the room etc.
The teachers left that day with a renewed sense of purpose, a renewed sense of humor, and most importantly a renewed sense of confidence. I left that day filled with the blessing of spending time with such an awesome group of teachers.
So, my dear friends- teachers or not- are you eating to survive some discomfort in your life? It might be personal; it might be professional. Let’s treat ourselves better by taking a moment to discover what it is that we’re eating to cover. Is it a lack of confidence; a need for some assurance like the teachers? Feeling “out of control”, unhappy, or…?
Stop, look, discover. Then deal with it! Just like my teacher friends in this training you have to dig in, realize what is going on, and put it in its proper place. You don’t have to eat to survive; you should eat to thrive. You can put down the survival food, figure out what’s triggering that kind of eating, and begin to make choices that will help you thrive.
What do you say? What’s eating you? Take a moment to click on the comment button.