Controlling myself and my Emotions
The scholar Howard Gardener states that there are multiple intelligences. “He described an individual’s cognitive abilities in terms of seven relatively independent but interacting intelligences: linguistic, logical-mathematical, spatial, musical, bodily-kinaesthetic, intrapersonal and interpersonal.” (IJCRSEE, 2016) The academic John Dewey, focuses more on intrapersonal and interpersonal intelligences. Interpersonal refers to the understanding and the act of relating to other people, while Intrapersonal refers to introspection and self-reflection. Dewey believed that the human being has to interact with what surrounds him in order to grow and learn. In other words to explore one’s intrapersonal and interpersonal intelligence, one has to analyse his own emotions and those of the people that surround him to determine his level of Emotional Intelligence.
A highly emotional intelligent person has the ability to recognize his/her emotions, understand them, and see how they affect those around him/her. Although, it also means to understand other people’s emotions. Emotional intelligence is defined as perceiving, understanding and regulating emotions. It’s about the possibility to reason and solve problems. This allows a person to manage his/her relationships better and avoid conflicts. There are 5 elements that define emotional intelligence: self-awareness, self-regulation, empathy, social skills and motivation. (mindtools.com)
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Goleman defines the 5 characteristics that comprise Emotional Intelligence. Self-awareness is knowing how you are feeling and how those emotions are effecting people around you. Self-regulation is controlling your emotions and actions. Empathy is the ability to identify with and understand the wants, needs, and viewpoints of those around you. Social Skills is the ability to manage a dispute, excel in communication skills, and be good at managing and building relationships. Motivation is the internal drive to achieve, produce, develop, and keep moving forward. (Goleman, 1995)
If I had to appraise myself I would say that I have an above average level of Emotional Intelligence, and there are some areas I need to handle and work on to provide and create a better ambience in the classroom and in my relationships at work and outside work. I believe that I am very self-aware of my emotions. I know how I feel all the time and can express what I am feeling. I am sensitive to the emotional climate of the people around me when I am or they are under pressure. I am also aware of the effect my behaviour has on people. When I am under stress, I feel like I am breaking on the inside and everything is blaring red and every alarm is ringing, but according to my sister and confidant, apparently I transmit calmness, think logically and I don’t panic at all. Also, when I am faced with a setback, I panic at first, but I quickly react and find ways to counteract and achieve a good result. Nonetheless, most of the time I then take all the stress and anxiety at home and release my nervousness on my loved ones. If I had to define myself I would never say that I am a positive person. When I am thinking about myself and the things I do, I always think that I can be better, or do better. However, I am always surprised when people around me describe me as a positive person, as I tend to always see the positive side to everything especially if the issue has nothing to do with me. Perhaps, it is also because I try to joke around to dramatize the situation.
As for Self-Regulation, I admit that I am quite an impulsive person and sometimes I tend to convey my sentiments without restraints, especially in my private life and with my co-workers. Now I have been teaching for four years and I can say that I learnt how to control most of my emotions in the classroom, although I have to admit that I replaced my abrupt reactions to sarcastic comments or facial expressions which most of the students still understand. Hence, Self-Regulation is a characteristic which I need to push upon and improve. Nonetheless, I consider myself to be a person that requires criticism and approval. I need to know if what I am doing is right and correct, so when I am actually criticised I do not get offended, on the other hand I reflect and try to act upon it and to improve. Therefore, I admit my mistakes and errors and apologise for my actions without shame.
I consider myself a good listener, to be an empathic and an understanding person. I am adept at tuning into others and their needs and most of the time I try to put myself in the other person’s shoes before I judge, most of all in the classroom. However, sometimes I do skip to judgements with my co-workers and outside work.
In relation to Social Skills, I believe that I enjoy positive relationships both at work and in my personal life. However, something I am not good at airing my grievances skilfully, I do not control my emotions when I am affronted with an unjust or unfair act. I get frustrated when I spend days and nights preparing an activity, and is not appreciated by my students, or when I work tirelessly and that work is not acknowledged. The problem is that by my abrupt reactions I achieve nothing, I only aggravate the situation and do not resolve anything. I must learn, to think before I act and avoid conflict as much as possible. I must remember that perhaps people don’t know the hours I put into my work and that I can make them see this only by talking calmly to them and make them understand how you are feeling.
With respect to motivation, I am a very self-motivated person and I believe that one always has to sacrifice a little to achieve good results, thus I think I am motivated once I truly know my goals and what I want to achieve. I like to learn new things, especially related to my job and how I can improve my performance in the classroom, how to motivate my students, how to engage them. Therefore, I take on new challenges, learn how to use new technologies and methods, and being a perfectionist I try to do so in the best way possible, I keep on pushing to reach the goal I set in my mind. I also try to motivate my students by providing them with different ways and methods how to progress and keep on building on what they learnt so far.
As to the atmosphere in my classroom, well it depends. I am a Spanish teacher and therefore I don’t teach only one set of students every year. Apart from this, I sometimes have to change classrooms with some groups. I must admit that the emotional intelligent ambience is different with every group, because my relationship with each group is different. I change my behaviour and I feel different emotions according to the group I am with. I also recognize that with some groups, and individuals I expose certain emotions which I ought to control and keep to myself. For example, with groups with gifted and brilliant students, I feel more relaxed, and I believe that we have an excellent emotional intelligent ambience in the classroom. We start each lesson with sharing of experiences lived in the past days, or discuss an issue that troubles them, and only after we start with the lesson. While with those groups that I feel less appreciated with I start immediately with the lesson, once everybody settles down, because I think they are not interested in knowing what I feel, so in return I don’t give them time to share their emotions with me. I know that this is not something that will lead to creating a good emotional intelligent ambience.
Consequently, I think that the characteristics that I need to work on to improve my Emotional Intelligence and create a better relationship with my students and co-workers (for now or to start with), are Self-Regulation, Empathy and Social Skills. I believe that I need to learn how to control my anger, irritation, disappointment in the classroom especially with those students that have some background social issues, I need to empathise more with their problems and be more patient and understanding. In regards to my Social Skills, I must learn that when I express my opinions I do not disdain other’s viewpoints. I have to accept how other people are, how they act, what they believe, their way of being and avoid conflicts by acknowledging this, learn to really listen in order to be happier on the workplace and around my colleagues.