Home' Teacher : April 2011 Contents LEADERSHIP 57
Many teachers and school leaders would agree with Charles Darwin's
statement in his 1872 book, The Expression of the Emotions in Man
and Animals, that the ability to express emotions, such as anger,
despair and relief, is connected to survival.
If school leaders want teachers who can do more than just
survive the classroom, however, they need to better understand
how emotions are expressed, and also how they can be managed;
that is, the theory of emotional intelligence, or EI.
Why is emotional intelligence important?
How well do you understand your own emotions? Do you recognise when
you're feeling stressed or frustrated, and do you know how to manage that?
How well do you understand and manage the emotions of your col-
leagues? Of your students?
An emotionally intelligent teacher, for example, recognises that at the start
of a school year, students new to the school are likely to be feeling anxious
and vulnerable, and handles the Year 7 class differently to the Year 9 class
-- which is likely to have a whole other range of issues.
A good colleague recognises that most people aren't at their best
first thing on a Monday morning, and chooses to schedule an
important meeting for some other time.
A good registrar is welcoming and helpful
to the parents of potential students look-
ing to enrol in the school.
An EI-savvy school leader knows
when a teacher has done a great
job on a project, and makes an
effort to acknowledge it.
These might seem like sim-
ple actions -- but how often do
we see the opposite occur? For
some people, emotional intel-
ligence comes naturally; for
others, it doesn't. The good
news is that teachers and
school leaders can improve
their EI, and leaders can take
steps to hire the most emo-
tionally intelligent people as
Emotional intelligence relates
to a person's capacity to per-
ceive, understand and manage
their ow n emotions and those
of others, including groups.
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