Deputy Head's Blog: Emotional Intelligence

I have never held the opinion that, as a teacher, my only responsibility was to teach academic content. Indeed, my range of pastoral roles served to provided numerous opportunities for me to deliver advice, guidance, encouragement and motivation to the pupils in my care.

The opportunity to provide an educational framework for children, within an increasingly secular and materialistic society, within a holistic environment, to develop global citizens, served to underpin my core reason for wanting to become a teacher in the first place.

Unwittingly, it would transpire that such pastoral care contributes to the 'Emotional Intelligence' of the pupils.

I have always held the opinion that the challenge for effective school leaders, within this increasingly secular and materialistic society, is to have the courage to build moral communities within their schools, thus rebuilding the social capital. In short, I would argue that teachers within schools are ‘emotional guides’.

Of interest is the approach to emotional intelligence currently adopted by Wellington College, an Independent Boarding school located in Berkshire. Emotional Intelligence is given high priority at this School, based upon the premise that:

"It is evolutionarily important for humans to be able to connect and collaborate for our survival as a species. The parts of our brain to do with social connection, empathy and listening have been shown to be highly plastic, and you can make a massive difference to how they function."

The notion of one of our core Cransley School values of ‘Nurturing Relationships’ contributing to emotional intelligence is rather reassuring. I have spent time this week discussing with the boys from Senior One to Senior Three the importance of how empathy, kindness, tolerance and humility makes a huge difference to social connection and to our school community.

Pastoral roles are, in my opinion, the most rewarding in education. It would also appear to be a good time to be a teacher!

Allow me finish by sharing with you three of my favourite quotations that encapsulate the true essence of being a teacher:

A teacher affects eternity; he/she can never tell where his/her influence stops.

It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge.

There is no real teacher who in practice does not believe in the existence of the soul, or in a magic that acts on it through speech.

I’m not a teacher: only a fellow-traveller of whom you asked the way. I pointed ahead— ahead of myself as well as you.

Have a lovely half-term!