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How To Be a Kind Teacher: An Educator's Perspective

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Swami Vivekananda said, "If you can give them positive ideas, men/women will grow up and learn to stand on their own legs."

Very recently I took the Instructional Skills Workshop as an educator, and learned a great deal about myself as a teacher. The four-day process was quite reflective, and made me contemplate on how I choose to deliver information on any given subject.

While giving my 10-minute lesson and observing others as they gave theirs, I noticed only one theme over and over again. It was kindness. The gentler the teacher was, the greater was the ability of students to absorb.

So, I believe kindness nurtures a supreme learning environment. If you as an educator are kind, students around you will be willing to take risks and let their guard down. They will be more open to learning or sharing what they know, and are likely to to enhance/expedite the entire learning process.

I also think that kindness makes the teacher look more human to the students. This has been my observation over the years. When I ask my students - Why do you find it easy to discuss things with me, I have often told me that I am very approachable, and they can discuss their ideas with me because "I look kind and encourage them with positive words."

I think as an educator, kindness should be one of the required skills for academia. We have heard of both kind and unkind teachers, and what lasting impressions they can make on student growth and development. A kind teacher stays in the memory of his/her students for a lifetime, and vice versa.

Constant negativity can weaken even the strongest of beings. Similarly, pointing out mistakes can wound a person's feelings. However, if you speak kind words...and encourage them enough, they are bound to improve in time.

Therefore, if you can shape/channel vulnerability of students through your kindness and light up their path, you deserve to be a part of the noblest profession of the world.

Listed below are five tips for being a kind educator:

Smile: Never underestimate the power of a smile. It can make you more appealing, and your class more comfortable. Exude happiness just by simply smiling.
Soothe: Feel your students' trials. Observe their difficulties and then help them by giving examples from your own learning's.
Focus on language and tone of voice: Remember that words have enormous power. Choose your words very carefully and the tone you use. Before speaking first consider, if it is true, necessary and kind. If it lacks any one of the elements, consider rephrasing the sentence.
Patience: Is a great virtue to have, seek or teach. If you can give enough space and time to your students to work on concepts they will feel a sense of comfort with you and the topic at hand. This process will also teach them the power and value of patience.
Respect: Value the input of your students. This builds huge trust between you and them.

Finally, I would like to conclude by the following words from Plato: "Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a harder battle."