Inside the Mind of a Teacher Who Reads Body Language

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:

Microexpressions matter.

 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.)

Writing journey. 

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.)

Relationships matter. 

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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Vicki Davis

Vicki Davis is a full-time classroom teacher and IT Director in Georgia, USA. She is Mom of three, wife of one, and loves talking about the wise, transformational use of technology for teaching and doing good in the world. She hosts the 10 Minute Teacher Podcast which interviews teachers around the world about remarkable classroom practices to inspire and help teachers. Vicki focuses on what unites us -- a quest for truly remarkable life-changing teaching and learning. The goal of her work is to provide actionable, encouraging, relevant ideas for teachers that are grounded in the truth and shared with love. Vicki has been teaching since 2002 and blogging since 2005. Vicki has spoken around the world to inspire and help teachers reach their students. She is passionate about helping every child find purpose, passion, and meaning in life with a lifelong commitment to the joy and responsibility of learning. If you talk to Vicki for very long, she will encourage you to "Relate to Educate" or "innovate like a turtle" or to be "a remarkable teacher." She loves to talk to teachers who love their students and are trying to do their best. Twitter is her favorite place to share and she loves to make homemade sourdough bread and cinnamon rolls and enjoys running half marathons with her sisters. You can usually find her laughing with her students or digging into a book.

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The Cool Cat Teacher Blog
Vicki Davis writes The Cool Cat Teacher Blog for classroom teachers everywhere