from the life of a teacher

Week 5 March 30, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — amaliskas1234 @ 9:41 pm
  • I recently had a conflict with a colleague of mine on my grade level. Thankfully we were able to solve it by both putting in our best effort and now we are working wonderfully together! At first I felt very offended by the situation and felt personally attacked. After I had time to process it I was more comfortable in working towards a solution. My coworker realized that she spoke to me out of anger and should have allowed herself time to calm down before confronting me. Some of the strategies I used to help us resolve this conflict were the following:

1. I shared with her exactly how I was feeling about the situation and asked her to please share with me her feeling so we could be on the same page. Once we did so we realized it was just all poor communication that led to the conflict and the same frustrations she was feeling were the very ones I had been struggling with.

I used one of the strategies O’Hair and Wiemann (2009) provided in that I accepted responsibility for the short term and long term consequences of my poor communication and I graciously expected her to do so as well – in which she did. The Center for Nonviolent Communication (n.d.) also acknowledges this principle in explaining that we must accept responsibility for our actions and how they impact others. In doing so we were able to gain each others perspective of the situation which really helped both of us to see the situation at hand was not intentional. The Third Side (n.d.) explains how distancing yourself from a situation can help you to gain others perspectives. To a point we did this by removing our personal wants and frustrations to learn from each other. Therefore – In doing so this led me to the second strategy –

2. I compromised – That is I swallowed my desire for receiving credit for the ideas and lessons I created. I swallowed my pride of self-righteousness and began sharing ALL of my ideas with her. This was a process and before it began I asked if she would please mind sharing ideas with me as well so that I would not feel as though I was giving away all of my hard work.

The reason our conflict was so easily resolved was because we both went into it with the approach of a win/win. The Center for Nonviolent Communication (n.d.) acknoweldges how successful these solutions can be because both people are committed to seeing a resolution take place. I am very thankful that my coworker wanted to resolve the situation and was committed to working towards a solution along side of me. This made all the difference in our situation! It also made it that much easier to resolve.

When asking my colleague for her input on how be an effective communicator as it relates to conflict resolution skills she answered without hesitation. She said our conflict reminded her of these thoughts. Her response included the following:

– Do not allow your emotions to cause you to do or say things you regret. Instead sleep on it. Take a night or two and allow yourself to calm down before approaching the situation.

– Always go to the person or group of people you are in disagreement with. Do not go to someone else out of frustration – it just ends in hurt feelings.

– Be willing to make changes to resolve the conflict. Do not go into a situation with a mind set of knowing exactly what is going on and how it needs to be fixed.



The Center for Nonviolent Communication. (n.d.). The center for nonviolent communication. Retrieved from

O’Hair, D., & Wiemann, M. (2009). Real communication. New York: Bedford/St. Martin’s.

The Third Side. (n.d.). The third side. Retrieved from


How I percieve myself and how others percieve me…. March 23, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — amaliskas1234 @ 6:29 pm

The thing that surprised me the most through being evaluated by my husband and friend this past week was my score in the Communication Anxiety Inventory. I am highly anxious about public speaking. I often feel my body tense up and my heart begin to race when having to speak in front of adults. Yet, I could speak in front of the children in my classroom all day long. My husband explained it was because of how relaxed and natural I am in front of children that he answered the questions the way he did. Even parents of children in my class make comments about how surprised they are that I would be nervous to speak at a program or event. Both my husband and friend scored me within the very low and moderate range of anxiety. I was so surprised that my husband did not score me higher knowing how much of an introvert I can be. Yet through his explanation above I realized it is something I involve myself in daily. These insights really helped me to see that it is something I must work through. It also made me realize that public speaking is a very real aspect of my job as an early childhood educator. Therefore, it is something that I can work to improve!

Three other insights I gained in regard to communication this week are ……

1. Communication can be perceived quite differently by different people. When I perceived myself as a very insecure public speaker I found that others very close to me perceived me as having normal levels of anxiety in regards to public speaking and communication. Likewise, on things that we may feel we are doing a good job in communication may be viewed negatively by others. Sometimes how we perceive ourselves and how others perceive us can be very different.

2.There are different aspects of communication that play within our effectiveness as a communicator. One cannot be an effective communicator through one aspect alone. Instead it takes a balance of different areas such as verbal communication, nonverbal behaviors, and listening components to be an effective communicator. Even with effective verbal communication accompanied by appropriate nonverbal behaviors one can still fail to be a good communicator if they are not a good listener.

3. We need to work to be the communicator we desire others to view us as. If we desire to be highly effective we must be willing to take our downfalls and work to strengthen them. We must be willing to work on areas that may make us feel uncomfortable at times. Without reflecting and taking critical criticism we can never hope to grow as more effective communicators.


Week 3 – Reflecting on how I communicate with others…. March 16, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — amaliskas1234 @ 2:21 pm

When reflecting on how I communicate with others from different groups and cultures I realize that I do tend to communicate different with people from certain groups and cultures over others. I find myself becoming more quiet around people who have a different race from me.  I am a very conservative person and so I think this adds to my quietness with others at times. I wait to see how the conversation goes. I feel that I need to make a joke at times to ease tension within a group of people or to be well liked. I find that I am more relaxed when I am around groups of people that are like me in race, gender, or political affiliation. Otherwise I tend to shy a way and listen to the conversations going on more so than add to them. I also find myself acting the same way when around males. I feel as though at times I have to earn my keep in a way of speaking. I fear being too chatty so I find myself thinking of how to respond most appropriately without saying too much. I realize that when I do not know what to say I end up saying nothing at all.

One strategy I could use to help me communicate more effectively with the people or groups I identified above would be to worry less about my feelings of being uncomfortable and spend more time looking at what areas of common ground I have with another. I could do a better job at using these times as opportunities to learn from one another.

Another strategy I could use to help me communicate more effectively is to be an active listener and respond to what I am hearing in conversations. Instead of JUST listening I can do a better job at responding to others in which will help them feel more valued than by me just sitting there. This will also help to keep communication going deeper than hitting a dead end.

A third strategy I could use to help me communicate more effectively is to work on restating what another person is communicating to me. In doing so I can work on listening attentively and also allow the other person to know I am valuing what they are saying to me. I can use phrases such as “So you are saying….” “So you feel that…” and so on


A new look at a show…. March 9, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — amaliskas1234 @ 7:23 pm

The Television episode I chose to watch without sound was Parenthood. I have heard a lot of friends mention watching it so I decided to use it for this assignment.

I had a very hard time understanding the relationships of the characters based on the way they were communicating. There seemed to be a large amount of characters within the episode. Therefore, it was hard to keep up with who was with who. People I thought were together while watching it without the sound were actually not together like I had thought once I watched it with the sound on. However, considering the episode began inside a house I would assume that some of the characters are related. Based off how other characters were communicating with one another with smiles, hugs, talking in close proximity I would assume they are all good friends.

At the beginning of the episode I could tell that the characters were feeling happy about something based on nonverbal behaviors of smiling, laughing, and hugging.  Later on in the episode I noticed characters feeling confused or unsure based on nonverbal behaviors of making facial expressions, looking back at one another for what appeared to be affirmation, sighing, and breathing out deeply. I also noticed characters seeming to be arguing with one another based on behaviors of making facial expressions, frowning, flapping arms up and down as though they were upset, and talking in a way that appeared to be yelling.

Once I actually began watching the show with the sound turned on I  realized I made some correct and some incorrect assumptions about the characters and plot based on the ways they were communicating with each other. When I thought some of the characters arguing I learned that they really weren’t arguing just discussing and actually playing around with each other. I assumed the different characters were dealing with some problems  and this turned out  to be true. However, I made the incorrect assumption that a character was having problems with who appeared to be his boss. Once I watched the show with the sound I realized that he actually was not having any trouble with his boss. In all actuality he pitched an idea to his boss that he thought he would decline, but his boss actually loved the idea.

Had I watched a show that I had watched before I would have made more correct assumptions because I would have an idea of the plot of the show. With prior knowledge on the plot of the show I would be able to better interpret what is going on relationship wise between characters and how they are feeling.  However, there were some parts of the episode that I was able to correctly assume about based on the nonverbal behaviors and contexts portrayed. For example. without the sound I was able to correctly assume one seen was a mother trying to teach her daughter how to drive for the first time. After re-watching the episode with the sound on I realized that this is exactly what was occurring. Although some of the assumptions I had made were correct I was completely incorrect in the conversations and topics being discussed.

This was a very interesting experience for me. I grew up with my older sister being deaf. We always had closed captions on our television so that she would be able to follow along with the story. Without being able to hear the dialogue of the show was frustrating at times. I can definitely see where the frustration my sister had came from. It was also very easy to make assumptions about what was occurring that were majorly wrong in comparison to what was truly occurring. I was completely lost on the types of conversations that were occurring within the episode. No matter what nonverbal cues I was able to pick up on within the episode with the sound off I was still lost at the actually topic being discussed because I simply was not apart of the language. My major “aha” moment was my realization that without being able to hear the language being spoken within the episode I based all of my assumptions primarily on the nonverbal cues I was observing. All of the assumptions I had made were off of the nonverbal cues I had observed – Wow… I am not sure why this hit me like a ton of bricks. With this realization I was once again reminded of the impact nonverbal cues have on communication.


Effective Communication March 3, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — amaliskas1234 @ 8:42 pm

When thinking about someone who demonstrates competent communication I picture my principal at school. She is always very professional. When people speak to her she makes them feel heard – she is an active listener. She lets you know that she has heard what you have said by reiterating your statements in some of her own statements or responses. She is very good about letting a person express themselves fully before interjecting. She also does a good job about keeping her emotions in line while others are sharing even if she happens to not agree with something. Every time I leave a conversation with her I feel valued and heard. It makes me much more comfortable in discussing situations with her than with someone that I feel devalues my opinion.

My principal is definitely someone who I would like to model my own communication behaviors after. I would love for others to feel valued and heard upon leaving a conversation with me. I desire for the children and families in my class to feel comfortable in coming and discussing situations with me regardless of how I may personally feel.