43. Labeling Those Around Us
We all have a tendency to label those around us with all sorts of different labels.
This tendency has bled over to education like crazy.
We label our students, we label our colleagues, we label our schools, we label our teams, etc.
These labels are usually not serving us very well.
I think it will serve us well to stop and process what each of these labels is doing to our thoughts. When you are leading into every interaction with the label first we are automatically creating a barrier to our ability to connect with those around us.
Our brain has done this initially for a good reason because our brains are very good at looking out for danger and trying to be the most efficient machine it can be.
If the label our brain has created is an amazingly positive one, like we might create with those we love, our friends, or the best students in our classes then we really do become more efficient and this can lead to greater connection.
If the label created by the brain is a negative or reactionary label then we are going to be in trouble.
Because we are so worried about danger and protecting ourselves the brain creates a lot more negative labels than it does positive ones. This starts to look like a warning light flashing above the person before we ever even speak to them.
This creates an automatic disconnect and we start to see that person as an object rather than a person like us.
Even more troublesome than our own brain creating negative labels for us is the concept of negative labels attributed to people by others that we automatically believe.
In education this looks like our colleague telling how amazing or not amazing a particular person is, whether that be a student or colleague.
Our brains automatically adopt the label of the other person to increase efficiency and make sure we see the danger sign before we ever even interact with that person.
Information about a students capabilities is vitally useful if viewed in the right light, but not as a label.
This creates barriers way too much in education.
How many students were you edgy with because they had the label of a rowdy student before you ever taught them.
How many staff members did you avoid because of an inappropriate label given to them by another.
What are the ramifications of these superficial and possibly negative reactions?
Who did we not serve as well as we could have if the label was stripped off and we started seeing them for who they really were?
I am guilty of believing way too many of the labels people carry around with them.
Some of these might have been self imposed, some assigned, but none very useful.
If you need help managing your mind around all of the automatic labels in your life then come work with me!
Come sign up for Rekindle Your Fire, our newest online course, or at least start to see your thoughts for what they really are.
I love you guys and keep working to become the best version of you!