Emotional intelligence (EI) or (EQ) refers to the ability to perceive, control and evaluate emotions. Some researchers suggest that emotional intelligence can be learned and strengthened, while others claim it is an inborn characteristic.
When it comes to teachers' emotional intelligence, there are 7 must have character traits that are needed to be truly successful.
As I read through the list, I just have to laugh. If you’re human, and most teachers are, it all depends on the day! Did I get enough sleep? …argue with my spouse? …stump my toe walking to the bathroom in the middle of the night? Any number of things can move that emotional needle in the blink of an eye. The good news is that the truly special and unique quality of every great early childhood education teacher is the ability to “turn it off” and focus on the present.
When you work with “the littles” every single day, there’s a magical transition that occurs as soon as your students start walking through the door. I realized early in my teaching career that there’s no room at school for personal problems; that, as hard as it was some days to get up, get ready and get to school, it was always the best therapy!
Here are a few real-life situations that definitely require a high EQ in order to be handled successfully.
- The building administrator walks in with a new student, introduces him as “Grave Digger Wolverine,” and you don’t laugh out loud.
- Sweet little Nicky brings his mother’s massager to school because his Mom told him it helps her headaches, and you graciously accept it with your bare hands.
- Out of the blue, a student’s mother walks in to your classroom, staggering drunk, threatening to beat you up, and you manage to smile, speak softly and gently guide her down the hall to see Miss Jackie in the office who is 5’11 and built like a linebacker.
- Your colleagues get mad at you because you’re introducing astronauts and space travel while they're teaching the same Three Little Pigs unit they've been using for the past 12 years, but you refuse to change your lesson plans.
- A homeless student from the mission is wearing his “pants on the ground” because that is literally all he has, so you buy him a belt.
- You’re teaching a combined grade-level classroom, serving on three campus committees and your principal asks you for a small favor. "Will you take the past five years’ student performance data and convert it into a logical and meaningful PowerPoint for my district presentation next week?" and you do it.
- You finally manage to secure that ideal classroom you've been waiting on for six years, only to return at summer’s end to learn you've been given a new room assignment. Your immediate reaction is to grab a roller brush, a can of paint and some bright fabric to start redecorating.
- You're running out of patience, time and energy as you near the end of a grading period, so you take a deep breath and make a to-do list that reads: 1. Buy a Sword. 2. Name it Kindness 3. Kill People with Kindness. (Just kidding!)