Teachers suffer from guilt in the classroom on a daily basis. Comment below on some of your guilty feelings. Guilt just means you are alive and human, everybody suffers from guilt in someway.
Teachers are generally wonderfully open people. People who put in the extra effort. They tend to meet and deal with societies problems in ways that no other professional does. It is easy for guilt in the classroom to seep into other parts of life. It is easy to feel bad for others when you listen to people suffering extreme home lives. However, teachers must fight the feeling of guilt. You must remember that you are where you are due to the intense effort you put in for years and years to achieve. Remember how you and your family made huge sacrifices to get you through school and university. You have the right to be here. Never forget this simple fact – you earned your place in society and should not feel guilty of living the good life.
Guilt in the classroom – Why did you get the promotion?
The same goes with internal promotions in school. Unless you went out of your way to vindictively wreck a colleagues chances, you were chosen to lead and promote a school area over them. You cannot feel guilty about your success. Your skills and experience won through.
However, guilt in the classroom will continue to knaw at you. You will ruminate over it and this guilt can take over a large part of your free time, as you continue to worry about work related things. There is a simple solution. You need to change your feelings of guilt (a negative feeling which does constantly trigger the stress response), into a question with an answer. So if you are feeling guilty as you don’t spend enough time with you child because you have so much to do. Spin this into a question. How can I make scheduled quality time to play with my kid. Ironically there is a solution a titan of advertising taught me, just say ‘yes’ to everytime your kid wants to play with you. Drop everything. For 10 minutes they are yours.
How does your guilt in your personal life affect your day job?
Your guilt in the classroom could be linked to your old love life. For years I felt guilty over how I had treated an ex-girlfriend. I was emotionally immature and young and while she was more emotionally mature and wanted different things from the relationship. She saw me as a life partner, I wasn’t ready for anything like that as I was re-writing up a PhD.
For years I felt guilty that somehow I’d made the wrong choices which was ironical as my life I did and do lead now is fabulous. I went on to meet and marry my perfect woman. However the guilt of the past haunted me for a long while. Eventually we reconnected on Facebook and it turned out my guilty feelings of betrayal were only in my head. She had never viewed me in the same light I had cast myself. She had gone on, met her perfect man who aforex her to bits and has 2 kids. Sometimes the solution to guilt is to go back to the scene of the crime and talk openly about your feelings.
How to deal with the guilty feelings of children.
Children suffer from guilt as well. They wonder why we have everything in life while other kids elsewhere have nothing. The focus on the environment makes children feel guilty. Knowing that if you don’t recycle a bottle, it will float off into the ocean and kill sea life. The solution for their guilt is a slight change in their own life styles. If they live the best life they can and live as environmentally sensitive lives, all will be well. I remind my kids, even in the bible Jesus says there will always be the poor amongst us. I also point out that by studying hard and getting great jobs, they can become part of the solution to any problem they currently feel guilty about.
Guilt often relates to things you didn’t do. This is the toughest form of regret. It is demanding you should have seen correctly into the future. If I had done this, now the life of my children would be so much better, if I had taught this, my students grades would have been higher etc. It is easy to forget that at the time you did something or didn’t do it for a purpose. It could have been that the Christmas show swallowed up your time, or you were suffering a personal crisis and just didn’t have the time to be perfect in everything you do.
If you purposefully did something wrong and now feel guilty, then fix it!
Guilt in the classroom can come from nasty things you purposefully did to your teaching colleagues and now regret. Confessing now might ease your guilt but would it solve the problem? Just make sure in the future, you avoid being in such circumstances again. Change your professional attitude to people and work. Help them recover lost ground. Start talking nice things about them to senior management. There is little else you can now do.
If you feel guilty about having to report issues with your colleagues such as child protection issues or other work issues which resulted in them being fired, then you can’t feel bad. You had to do your best and while it is unpleasant to do, you have saved others in the process.
Guilt can also come from actions you regret. Again, remember at the time you either didn’t know what would follow or you did it for the best of reasons. For example you might have voted Brexit and now regret it. You may now feel guilty for the impact this will have on your school, your life and the life of your students. Students will simply have to find a different way to working freely across Europe. You used the information you were given, and made a decision on the ‘facts’ you had – don’t feel guilty if the ‘facts’ were inaccurate and you made the ‘wrong’ decision – you cannot change the past . Both campaign groups lied to you in one form or another. And from the information you got, you did the best you could. Remember – you can only do the best you can, with the information at hand.
Guilt is your reaction to getting an answer wrong – it is normal. Everyone shares these feelings.
This is true for any part of your life. You used the information you had to solve a problem. Sometimes the choice you made was wrong. Apparently 50% of choices made by senior leaders prove to be wrong, so you are in good company.
So relax. Enjoy your holidays. You don’t need to feel guilty about anything. Guilt is a negative feeling which you can’t do anything about. Apart from focus on the positive, resolve to help when you can in the future. If you feel guilty about past crimes, go back, reconnect with the original people and see that they don’t hold a grudge against you. If they do, then read my post on forgiving in the classroom and just let it go. Life is too short for guilty feelings.
How do you deal with guilt in the classroom, I would really appreciate it if you could comment below and share your experiences of guilt and how you overcame it.