Mindsets for Teachers of Children with Emotional and Behavior Disorders: #1

“I don’t think I can…I know I can.”

As a teacher or parent of children with chronic emotional and behavior problems, every day you will face challenges that will test your mental, physical, and emotional faculties. The risks are great if you do not approach daily challenges with the proper mindset. If you approach challenges with an “I can’t” mindset, you begin to make every excuse for why you cannot intervene in a given situation. By making excuses you put yourself in state of learned helplessness. Helplessness will give way to feeling hopeless. A hopeless teacher is one that is prevented from engaging in rational decision making and now becomes vulnerable in a crisis situation. What it really does is make the teacher a victim to the behaviors of the classroom. A teacher who is a victim is ineffective, lacks motivation, and will engage in interventions that provide a temporary patch. This undermines the effectiveness of any intervention and will never promote lasting change.

You must believe in your own capacity to perform in light of these obstacles. Whether you are a teacher or a parent who works with children with emotional and behavioral problems, you have to believe you have the power to change the outcome of any situation, without exception. Believing in your own ability to make changes, no matter how difficult, sets the stage for positive, effective action. Refuse to quit, know that you can, and keep trying.


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