Thinking, Beliefs, and Learning

I often write and talk about helping students avoid victimhood-thinking. But it’s equally important for teachers to avoid the victimization mentality as well. Thinking like a victim is toxically disempowering. Empowerment is so much more effective. And even if it were not, you would still be happier in an empowerment mode than in a victimhood mode.

While many teachers believe that they do avoid such negative thinking, one recent staff discussion demonstrated that a change in mindset would be required for some teachers to leave the victimhood realm. Believing that learning is prohibited because students come from unstructured homes, from poverty, or have some other situation that cannot be changed is a mindset of victimhood thinking—ON THE PART OF THE TEACHER. Certainly, some home situations diminish optimum learning, but they do not prevent learning.

Always remember that regardless of the situation, students can be taught that they can be masters of their fate, that they can be victors rather than victims. Students can be taught that when entering the classroom, they have the power to choose to learn or not to learn. The choice is theirs.

I saw a teacher teach this powerful lesson to first graders when she taught students to ask themselves, “What can I do in this situation?” The question empowered students with the understanding that choices are always available.

As a teacher, you set an important example every day. Be aware of how your thinking can shape the lives of others.