Teachers need courage.
It’s a job that demands it on a daily basis and it’s not for everyone. It certainly takes courage to stand in front of a class and it certainly takes courage to admit you don’t know everything.
LGBT teachers need courage in the classroom.
Teaching children about courage is also an important part of what teachers do.
But can it be trained? Can we keep it going? There is an art to living courageously.
In a sense, courage is the Battlemind we all need in our day to day lives.
In the definition provided by the U.S. Army Medical Command:
“Battlemind is the Soldier’s inner strength to face fear and adversity with courage. Key components include:
- Self confidence: taking calculated risks and handling challenges.
- Mental toughness: overcoming obstacles or setbacks and maintaining positive thoughts during times of adversity and challenge.”
Can this be adapted for classroom purposes?
Lassiter (2017) in “The 4 Types of Everyday Courage” says there are 4 types of courage in our everyday lives: moral courage, disciplined courage, intellectual courage, and empathetic courage.
School leaders who skillfully leverage all four types of everyday courage will succeed in the complex, ever-changing role of school principal.
So what types of courage do we want our pupils to have?
Tammy Roose in her excellent blog says we want them to develop:
The courage to speak up when something doesn’t feel or seem right.
The courage to stand up to their peers when they are mistreating others.
The courage to take up for those who cannot take up for themselves.
The courage to stand up for one’s beliefs and one’s sense of right and wrong.
The courage to try new things and to persist when they are not immediately successful.
The courage not to follow the crowd and not succumb to peer pressure.
The courage to be a leader in peer situations, to be a role model who encourages others who have less-developed courage to do what is right and stand up for their beliefs, too.
The courage to tell an adult when something uncomfortable happens.
The courage to have unique interests, independent thoughts, and to be themselves.
And teachers? What do we want them to do?
Moral courage takes some nerve especially when we see things that aren’t right. What do the British Army say about this?
Moral courage is doing the right thing, not looking the other way when you know or see something is wrong, even if it is not a popular thing to do or say.
There is also the courage knowing when to stop or step back.
Lieutenant Colonel Andrew Todd MBE, Commanding Officer, The Second Battalion, The Royal Gurkha Rifles, mountaineer and presented with a military Award for saving lives on Mount Everest has this to say about courage:
Courage is a bank account: drive it to the edge of its overdraft but know when to stop spending; rest and let your men rest too. Mental wellness is about avoiding burnout, so rest, reset and recharge.
How do you teach courage?
How courageous are you?