March 17th, 2011 | 6 Comments

Teachers & Childcare Providers’ Impact on a Child’s Self-Esteem

Note to readers: President Obama says U.S. children need to spend more time in school and 49% of Americans think the president is right. Extended school days and childcare put teachers in a position to greatly influence our children’s confidence, character, and self-esteem. Kareema makes interesting and valid points on how teachers and childcare providers effect our children.

by Kareema Martinez

Teachers play a huge role in affecting a child’s self esteem. Children spend a lot of time at school or with childcare providers and are exposed to their behaviors – good and/or bad. It is important for parents to be observant of how everyone in their child’s circle affects them. It is also important to know the characteristics of teachers or childcare providers that can have positive or negative impacts on children.

A good teacher that will positively impact a child’s self esteem has the following characteristics:

  • Patient when explaining expectations of homework, classwork, etc.
  • Will not embarrass children when they make mistakes or when a child is having trouble grasping what is being taught
  • Make themselves approachable
  • Gain trust and show trust
  • Maintain a positive attitude towards children and school
  • Show understanding of the challenges school may bring
  • Respectful of a child’s differences and encourage respect from all children towards each others differences.
  • Avoid making comments to a child that will make the child feel like they aren’t smart and talented
  • Lead by example
  • Continuously provide opportunities for children to learn and succeed
  • Listen to children when they express concerns or ideas
  • Stay calm during challenging circumstances and avoid shouting in anger or frustration
  • Enthusiastic
  • Fun
  • Make school a positive environment and experience
  • And More

Each of the characteristics above can help children stay interested in school, encourage them to want to learn, have happy and joyful feelings about teachers, adults and about themselves.

The opposite of a good teacher will negatively impact a child’s self esteem. Following are some of their characteristics:

  • Act as though they don’t care about their students – this can cause the child to feel they are unworthy, can cause the child to act out, have behavior problems, and more
  • Will not let their students express concerns/ideas – this can cause the child to shut down, pick up the habit of not sharing their ideas, disappointment, and more
  • Allow their students to express themselves but make the child feel their expressions aren’t valuable – this can cause the child to have self doubt, make the child not want to go to school, can cause anger and more
  • Show frustration and/or shout when challenges arise – this can cause the child to avoid interactions with the teacher and potentially other teachers and adults, can cause the child to pick up the same habits, and more
  • Seem insecure or demonstrate low self esteem through their own actions and comments – this can cause the child to lose trust and respect for the teacher, can cause the child to pick up the same habits, and more
  • Unorganized/flustered/overwhelmed – this can cause the child to become uninterested, confused, stressed, feel they aren’t smart enough because they can’t understand what’s going on, and more
  • Abrasive – this can make the child to become annoyed, upset, too anxious, fearful, and more
  • Talk down to children and do not show sensitivity or respect towards their feelings, differences, needs, and desires – this can cause the child to not speak up, become insecure, sad, and more

Stay involved with your child’s school life. Pay attention. Show up to school unannounced to check out the atmosphere when no one is expecting you – you have EVERY right. Act immediately when intervention is needed. When appropriate, show your appreciation towards your child’s teacher. It’ll make a BIG difference in everyone’s lives.

Kareema Martinez is the founder of Esteem Publishing and author of A Child’s Worth. She can be followed on Twitter and Facebook.

Introducing children to positive self-talk is an easy and effective way to help build your child’s self-esteem and confidence. Affirmation Weaver introduces affirmations and positive statements in a storytelling format.

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6 Comments on “Teachers & Childcare Providers’ Impact on a Child’s Self-Esteem”

  • Kids spend so much of their day at school and not with us that we rely on them to do a good job with them and nurture and build up their self-esteem. By talking to them about their day and how they are handling situations we know if their esteem is affected by what is happening at school.

  • Absolutely right! I teach families with children diagnosed with ADHD how to cope with the struggles of ADHD in both home and school environments. its important to advocate for your child in the school system once you have the information needed. Self-esteem issues come fast for these kids who feel many times that they dont fit in…negative reactions to impulsivity and inattention only feed negativity…

  • Excellent article and timely, due to all the budget cuts in the public school system, many long time experienced teachers are being laid off.

  • Yes, children with ADHD often receive negative feedback from peers and teachers. So important to realize the impact this has on their self-esteem. As Naomi mentioned we as parents need to spend time with and pay attention to cues…

  • Self Esteem is not what kids should be taught. We are raising a generation of spoiled, selfish brats. There is a big difference between self-esteem (as it is taught or defined) and quiet confidence. Kids should be taught to be interested in others, helping to enrich the lives of their fellow human beings, and to have confidence in their abilities to contribute something of value to the world. Teach your kids not so much about accomplishment but about being kind and decent.

  • I like the use of “quiet confidence,” and yes when children help others and contribute to the value of the world….they cannot help but have high self-esteem and self-value.

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