Teaching, Learning, and Leading with Emotional Intelligence

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Emotional Intelligence

Using emotional intelligence is a part of life whether it is in school, work or one’s personal life. Learning the elements of emotional intelligence can happen in the classroom and continue throughout the school building. Teaching, learning, and leading with emotional intelligence can be the catalyst to propelling students and staff to new academic, social, and emotional heights.

Mostly, you read about emotional intelligence in business. It is applicable in the education realm, too. A successful school administrator leads with emotional intelligence. In that building, teachers create classroom spaces where students learn to think and be socially responsible. Children are comfortable sharing their emotions, empathy, and experiences. Altogether it is a school building where these five elements work: self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy, and social skills. Let’s take a look at how the parts of emotional intelligence work the areas of teaching, learning, and leading.


The first is self-awareness.  Knowing who you are is essential for any person to learn. When you are self-aware, you know how you feel and how certain things make you feel. Self-awareness means you understand how your emotions or reactions can affect the people around you. It also says you are aware of your strengths and weaknesses. Being self-aware means, you can deal with others with humility and humanity.
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An administrator must lead with self-awareness. Each day a principal must make decisions that affect students and staff members. Principals encounter countless people and situations. Throughout a workday, he or she may experience people who are angry, sad, happy or an array of emotions. He or she must choose how to react. If principals are aware of their feelings, strengths, weaknesses, or how to manage their feelings some tough decisions are easier to make.

Teachers also make decisions throughout the day. Classrooms are action-packed and activity-filled. Teachers must manage teaching, learning, and student behavior. They are juggling many tasks and a variety of personalities throughout a school day. Reactions to various situations, behaviors, and emotions involving the students are dependent on a teacher’s self-awareness. His or her emotions or reactions can determine the outcome of students’ feelings about school or affect their self-esteem.

Essential School Supplies!

Introducing children to emotional intelligence begins at home and in the classroom. Students must develop self-awareness. Learning about oneself should start as early as possible. Children can learn to be in touch with their emotions and how they feel. They can understand what makes them happy, sad, angry, or excited. Also, boys and girls know how their actions affect their friends or classmates. It is up to educators to support the development of students’ self-awareness.  

Teach and Take Time for You presents Strategies and Tips to Reduce Stress and Burnout.


Self-Regulation is the second element of emotional intelligence. Learning how to control oneself is a powerful lesson. This skill is vital in every aspect of life. Whether it’s a person’s academic, work, or personal life, self-regulation helps one not to make rash and decisions. When situations or circumstances happen beyond one’s control, self-regulation can guide a person to the best choice. How can administrators, teachers, and students use self-regulation to support teaching and learning?


The element of self-regulation should be prevalent in school buildings. You know schools are emotion-filled places. There is a saying, “Pick the hill you’re willing to die on.” At any given time a principal makes several important decisions. Depending on the situation an administrator may need to make an emotional decision on the spot. At that moment he or she must know what is valued. As the leader of the school, the principal is held accountable for all decisions made within the school. Knowing these things, a principal needs to be calm and in control.

Teaching children means that teachers must know how to control themselves. Self-regulation comes in handy! Remember, they must deal with many different personalities of 20-30 students. Let’s not forget that the students have parents that teachers must communicate with from time to time. Furthermore, teachers have the characters of their peers and administrators to manage.

The classroom can be a tough place! Many students come to school with trauma-filled lives, and it surfaces in the school. Many of their parents have emotional scars, too. Sometimes, they all take out their emotions on the classroom teacher. However, the educator is expected to always be professional despite verbal or occasionally physical abuse. In these incidences is where self-regulation comes in. Control your emotions, reactions, and words!

The element of self-regulation is crucial for students to learn. Self-regulation is half the battle of classroom management. Learning how to control oneself begins at an early age. As students grow in maturity and move from grade to grade, they need to acquire their values, morals, or code of ethics. They should know what is more important to them. Then they should learn to hold themselves accountable. It’s not everyone else’s fault! Learn to accept the consequences of one’s own decisions. More importantly, learn and practice being calm in any situation.


Motivation is the third element of emotional intelligence. Self-motivation is excellent for students, teachers, and administrators. Everyone must set and work towards his or her goals plus have high expectations of self and their work.

Teachers and administrators have to examine why you do this job. Sometimes you may forget why and what you love about the profession. Therefore, it’s time to take time to think about why you wanted to teach or become a school administrator. Ask yourself some why, what, when, where, and how questions to get to the root of any problems. Then look at your situation and make some decisions about your career.

After making decisions, set personal and professional goals. Be positive and hopeful. Administrators, staff members look for you to be confident and motivated. Teachers, your students listen to you to be a source of positivity and motivation. In any situation always try to find at least one good thing about it.

Students also need self-motivation. Work with students to set personal and academic goals. Setting goals gets the students motivated to take responsibility for their learning and pushes them towards experiencing success.


Emotional intelligence’s fourth element is empathy. It is the ability to put yourself in someone else’s shoes. For school administrators having compassion is essential to managing a successful team of teacher and students. Principals have to be empathetic towards all of their constituents including parents, community members, external partners, students, and staff members. Empathy allows you to be a relatable leader. When you show people that you care, they will have more respect for your leadership.

Teachers, you must show empathy towards your co-workers, students, parents, and principals. You want to garner respect, too. During encounters with students or parents you want to put yourself in their position. You want to pay attention to your body language. Also noteworthy is that you respond to their feelings.

Empathy is an important skill that students need to learn. They talk and play with their classmates every day. However, children can be cruel with their words and actions. Frequently, they may not understand how their actions and words can hurt the feelings of others. Teachers and administrators can teach and support the development of empathy by modeling the behavior and creating an empathetic environment.

Social Skills

The last element of emotional intelligence is social skills. Everyone needs good social skills to communicate, collaborate, and get along with others. Those with social skills are generally good communicators and open to listening to good or bad news. They are open to hearing to all sides objectively. Having good social skills will carry you through situations in one’s personal, academic, and professional life. 

Teaching is a hard job.

Teachers and leaders who have excellent social skills are great at managing situations and resolving conflicts. Every day, educators use a certain amount of diplomacy throughout the school building. Being diplomatic means, they can conduct conflict resolution, communicate effectively, and give praise. Having good social skills includes building positive relationships with others and understanding their plight.

Children develop social skills through their interactions at home, school, and within their communities. The expertise of conflict resolution will serve them well in life as childhood and adulthood. Communication skills help them to learn to collaborate with peers. Social skills allow students to form, discuss, accept, or disagree with opinions. Then learning to praise and congratulate others prepares students to be great teammates, co-workers, and leaders.

Emotional Intelligence is a Part of Life

Again, using emotional intelligence is a part of life whether in school, work or one’s personal life. Educators can use emotional intelligence to inspire and gain trusts of staff members, parents, community members, and students. It is another humanistic approach to teaching and learning. All can use the five elements to create a successful academic and social-emotional setting. Also, think about how the elements of emotional intelligence can combat stress and burnout.

Understanding emotional intelligence and its elements are essential to creating an environment conducive to teaching and learning. Principals, think about your leadership style and how these elements may help to build a successful team and school. Teachers ponder how emotional intelligence is usable in your instructional strategies and daily routines in your classrooms. Both principals and teachers imagine how the five elements of emotional intelligence can transform your students’ lives. Consider attending professional development courses about emotional intelligence and start the transformation.

Additional Resources

5 Ways to Lead with Emotional Intelligence — Boost Productivity


10 Reasons Why Teams Need Emotional Intelligence


5 Aspects of Emotional Intelligence Required for Leadership


Leading With Emotional Intelligence


Emotional Intelligence is No Soft Skill


10 Reasons Why Emotional Intelligence is Critical for Leaders


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