Fostering Self-esteem in Students

Teaching involves many characteristics, but perhaps a few of the most important include patience, determination, and positivity. These traits impact a teacher’s approach to instruction and his or her expectations of student learning. Every student has a unique set of abilities and it is part of a teacher’s job to foster students’ personal and academic development. Growth is an ongoing process and teachers can either enhance or hinder a student’s development depending on their interactions with students and how the learning environment has been designed. Joyce, Weil, and Calhoun (2015) emphasize that a classroom’s learning community directly influences what students think about themselves and their abilities, how they interact with others, and how they approach learning. When teachers promote a positive learning community they directly impact their students developing self-esteem and academic growth.

Educators can reference Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs while planning classroom activities. The Hierarchy of Needs theory details how individuals move among various tiers to meet basic, psychological, and self-fulfillment needs throughout life (Desautels, 2014). The five tiers include 1) physiological needs such as breathing, food, and water; 2) safety related to the self, family, and property; 3) feeling love and belonging among family and friends; 4) obtaining self-esteem, respect, and confidence; and 5) self-actualization which results in creativity, problem-solving abilities, and self-reflection. Dr. Destautels offers detailed advice on how teachers can meet these needs for students when planning lessons, projects, and classroom design.

As a teacher, I believe that thinking about my students’ needs and interacting with them in positive ways will help increase their self-esteem. I know how easily certain words or actions can negatively impact someone’s persona or belief in their capabilities. I consider myself a positive, compassionate, patient person and I seek opportunities for improvement, especially when working with children. I babysat throughout my teenage years and always thought about how my actions and behavior would be an example for the children. As a teacher, my approach will be no different. I believe that I can cultivate students’ self-esteem through positivity, encouraging my students to be excited about learning, and teaching them to aspire to do their best.


Desautels, L. (2014). Addressing our needs: Maslow comes to life for educators and students. Retrieved from:

Joyce, B., Weil, M., & Calhoun, E. (2015). Models of Teaching (9th ed.). Upper Sadle River, New Jersey: Pearson.


Characteristics of an Effective Educator

Every educator has a unique teaching method and approach to classroom management, yet successful teachers share a few traits and skills that contribute to their effectiveness in the classroom. Some of the characteristics that effective teachers share are patience, compassion, adaptability, and a commitment to continually learning.

Patience helps teachers be calm and composed as they balance a variety of responsibilities throughout the day. Daily responsibilities include teaching lessons plans, managing the classroom, attending to students needs, communicating with parents, and recognizing time constraints. Patience allows teachers to remain poised when some of these responsibilities overlap and they have to evaluate how to proceed.

Compassion is important since students enter the classroom with a variety of life experiences, backgrounds, knowledge, and expectations. Teachers should understand that these factors might affect a student’s behavior and performance during the school day. Being compassionate can help teachers develop a stronger relationship with all students, but especially with those who might need some extra support.

Adaptability is important for numerous reasons including the ability to recognize when students need information taught in a different manner and being able change the lesson to help teach those students. Being adaptable also helps educators when a lesson has diverged from the original plan. A teacher can either guide the lesson back on track or allow time for students to explore other issues that were not part of the original lesson.

Effective educators are also committed to continually learning about education by reading research journals and articles. Teachers can apply the new concepts and strategies to their lesson plans. Another benefit is that when teachers have a desire to continually learn, then they are modeling to their students how learning is a life-long process.