• EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE: I can’t understand where my students are if I haven’t been there myself before. Spending time in introspection and writing my notes in my diary helps me anchor feelings and emotions that can sometimes feel foreign or even block us, freezing us in the moment of interaction (like an emotional knot).
  • COMMUNICATION SKILLS: I must say what I think and think what I say, then do what I say and say what I do. It is a self-fulfilling prophecy and if one is not in integrity, the students pick it up straight away. They may not be able to point out what is wrong, but they get a feeling that something is out of synch… the result would be that they would not trust me.
  • SINCERE CARE FOR STUDENTS: if you don’t love them enough to sometimes back-off and learn from them, that’s to say, to make them right, then they are so used to being made wrong that they will lower their standards. If you can apply tough love – that’s to say, everything you do you do it for their benefit, even when it doesn’t seem so, then they will surrender to your guidance and will stop sabotaging you and the class. But everyone gets there at a different time so sometimes a lot of PATIENCE is needed.
  • HIGH INTUITION: I need to keep my ear on the ground and pick up the vibes of how each one is and what is happening in the general atmosphere of the school, otherwise I can’t detect or identify the moods and I can’t guide or redirect the energies in the right direction. I can read between the lines: a little comment, a facial gesture… Everything tells me something and these are the live energies going on at each moment.
  • MODELLING: I must be at all times the change that I want to see in them. It is a high responsibility and a view of the world with high standards. It has taken me 20 solid years to build myself to this place but now it is rock-solid… and the students feel it. If I crack, then I can’t ask my students to behave impeccably at all times.
  • CHANGING OUTMODED HABITS: It gets easier with time and now it is more about tweaking / retouching, a point of redefinition than a point of constructing, with the breaking down of the old habits and the difficult task of letting go of them before we can adopt more efficient ones. I become the teacher I am today as I am moulded by the circumstances at the school.
  • HIGH STANDARDS: I expect highly of them and I tell them that I have no doubt that they can do it (if indeed this is true). I ask them individually for the higher standards that each one can give and I guide them through different strategies (which we find together), as well as ask them to start researching ways that work for them – I ask them to help me teach them how to learn. Once this is done, the learning happens quite effortlessly and the job is easy for everyone. But this requires that they start knowing themselves.


By Dr Ana Garcia PhD, DTM.

September 2017