Should empathy be the emphasis? Look back and remember your favorite teachers and administrators… did you learn “more” from them? (Probably, right?) Does it turn out that their understanding of your situation through empathy might have made you like them more?
The articles highlighted below lay out how empathy can help teachers and students. Both good reads, hopefully inspiring for you.
If you do get inspired, here’s a link to Empathy in Education, where they provide empathy based lesson plans that are worth a look.
By developing empathy in children, teachers not only help kids feel valued and understood, they also impact social change and innovation for decades to come. Volumes have been written about how to teach empathy, and there is still much to learn.
…For children to develop the capacity to feel empathy for others, they must feel seen, felt, and understood regardless of how they learn. Teachers who know, appreciate, and respect students beyond academics help children feel cared for and increase their ability to care for others.
If you need a reason why empathy isn’t just a nice sentiment but an actual need in the classroom, this:
…Under stress, the brain triggers a surge in cortisol, a hormone that produces the “fight or flight” response and inhibits the ability to absorb new information and to connect emotionally with others. Stressed children are anxious, tuned-out, emotionally volatile, and have diminished energy, stamina, and memory. The result is a vicious cycle: Students experiencing trauma at home come to school unprepared to learn and unable to forge trusting relationships, leaving them more isolated and subject to failure, which further increases stress levels.