Improve your self-awareness

By admin
06 February 2014

Self-awareness is the key to emotional intelligence which is important to one’s success in your workplace. Without self-awareness, your effectiveness, also at school, is hampered.

Teachers have tough jobs – and don’t let anyone tell you differently. You are the steward of the attention and emotions of 40 young people at any given time and yet you have to keep your own emotions in check constantly.

According to Pieter van Jaarsveld, the author of The Heart of a Winner, self-awareness is the key to emotional intelligence which is important to one’s success in your workplace. Without self-awareness, your effectiveness, also at school, is hampered.

As a teacher, it is important to understand your own emotions  as it will help you gain a better understanding of other people – and the 30 plus faces staring at you for six hours a day.

Self-awareness is an important building block of emotional intelligence. If you constantly find yourself having angry outbursts and shouting in the classroom, you might need to improve your self-awareness.

We all live in a stream of emotional messages and impulses. We need to understand the nature of the information which these impulses are sending, control them, and then direct then in a constructive manner.

Try the following steps to improve your self-awareness and learn how to respond correctly to others and to the events in our lives:

Examine your appraisals of a person of situation

You feelings, actions and reactions are affected by your thoughts and self-talk. You may, for example, have your head of department observing a lesson which you hope goes really well. At the same time, you are concerned that you may be a complete failure.

If you are able to recognise that you have a negative belief about a situation, you can turn that around into something positive.

Consider the effect of your perceptions

We often make assumptions based on what we perceive about another person’s behaviour. One child’s frown may mean he is deep in concentration, while another’s might mean she is truly unhappy. You should learn to distinguish between what you believe you are sensing, and how you actually appraise a person or situation.

Stay in touch with your feelings

You may have had a tough day at school and when you arrive home, you snap at your family. Stop for a moment and examine your real feelings – you should then realise that the frustration you experienced at school is actually responsible for your outburst.

Be aware of hidden agendas and intentions

We all have certain intentions at times to do something, without being aware that there is actually a hidden agenda behind them. Try to identify why you are acting in a certain way towards the learners in your class or a particular topic you are presenting.

Consider the effect of your actions

Your actions may portray a very different image to others than you are aware of. It might be a good idea to get somebody close to you, or a good team mentor, to provide you with feedback in order to help you become more aware of your actions and how others may perceive them.

Source: The Heart of a Winner, by Pieter van Jaarsveld. Available at

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