No one ever said I was omnipotent. I can’t see into the minds of the children I teach nor can I understand them sometimes. But I can figure out how to make them laugh while they learn.
I read the thousand tiny microexpressions that reveal the little things that make a big difference in our bondedness of being teacher and student.
I don’t need to know why they didn’t sleep last night to know they are tired from it and might have trouble concentrating.
And therein lies my gift.
Some people read books. I read people.
And for better or worse when I bounce into a room, I open the book of your face and take the plunge.
A note to the reader:
First, microexpressions are an important part of reading body language. While you could watch some episodes of Lie to Me (warning not for kids, some episodes have adult topics), you can learn about microexpressions other ways. While I was at the Army War College last week, I met someone in security who recommended the book What Every BODY is Saying: An Ex-FBI Agent’s Guide to Speed-Reading People.
(In case you’re wondering, the week at the Army War College National Security Summit is non-attribution. That means, I can say I learned something AT the War College but I’m not allowed to use names.)
Second, this summer as one of my personal learning curiosities, I’m going through The Write-Brain Workbook by Bonnie Neubauer. It is full of 400 writing activities. The blog post above is one of those activities and it opened up something I’ve been wanting to talk about for some time — microexpressions. (See 5 Ideas to Help You Grow to help set up your personal growth plan this summer.)
Finally, I do truly think that an ability to read people can be used for great good (and for harm.) However, as a teacher, I’ve found that learning about body language and reading books like Compelling People: The Hidden Qualities that Make Us Influential by John Neffinger give me things to consider in my mind to help me understand the relational aspect of life including the body language I observe and others see me do.
In another book I’m reading, Integrity: The Courage to Meet the Demands of Reality by Henry Cloud, Dr. Cloud shares that as we go through life that we leave a wake. That life wake consists of the tasks we accomplish and the relationships we form. Both are important.
Some people complete a lot of tasks but nobody wants to be around them. Other folks are really nice people but you’d never ask them to organize a birthday party or lead a transformation team. To be successful, we need to have both.
Happy summer! It is nice to clear my head and start thinking after living through the madness of May.
Side Note: I’m sending some of these topics related to excellence also to my 80 Days of Excellence mailing list. If you want to join, click below. I may have to rename the list now that the 80 days are done, but I got such great feedback from them.
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