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Am I in Charge?
Why emotional Intelligence is Important for Educators (Part 1)

Why is emotional intelligence important, and how can you develop it?

In the first two parts of this six-part series on emotional intelligence (EI) for educators and parents, we defined EI and why it matters. We discussed the first two characteristics of EI:

  • Self-awareness
  • Self-regulation.

Today and in the following weeks, we will examine the remaining three pieces of EI:

  • Motivation
  • Empathy
  • Relationship management

Why EI does matter for educators, whether in the classroom or as parents supervising online schooling?

A recent article on the Exploring Your Mind website sums up what it looks like when educators and parents lack EI.  They said, “Teachers who reprimand their students, who lack empathy, who punish them instead of saying ‘I’m here if you need help,’ and who aggressively confront their students, lack EI.  These behaviors result from their inability to manage their own emotions.”  The intention of the article is not to blame teachers. “Most of them do the best they can with the resources they have.” They go on to say that the lack of EI in teachers/parents adds to the anxiety of having to face confrontational challenges.

The good news is that EI can improve!

Let’s Look at Motivation as a Characteristic of EI. 


Motivation is the inner desire to achieve objectives. Self-motivated educators work consistently toward their goals, and they tend to effectively motivate their students.

Researchers suggest these three activities for increasing motivation:

  1. Re-evaluate why you are a teacher, whether in the classroom or as a parent.

It’s easy to forget what you really love about teaching, so take time to remember your “why.”  Revisit your goals and consider setting fresh, new ones.

  1. Know where you stand.

Assess your motivation.  Look for resources to reinvigorate your teaching motivation.

  1. Remain optimistic.

Motivated leaders are optimistic. No matter what problems they face, they adopt a positive mindset.  Try finding at least one good aspect of a particularly challenging situation, no matter how insignificant.  Adopting this mindset might take practice, but it’s well worth it!

“Teachers can really influence students, so much so that the students can benefit if their teachers change for the better. Therefore, emotional intelligence is very important for teachers.”


Robin LaBarbera

Robin LaBarbera is an experienced educator, researcher, author, and international speaker. Dr. LaBarbera is the Founder and President of LaBarbera Learning Solutions, a consulting firm
focused on empowering leaders and their teams to harness the power of emotional intelligence to maximize personal and professional success. Before devoting her work fulltime to LaBarbera Learning Solutions, Dr. LaBarbera served for over 15 years as a professor of special education, where she earned the esteemed title of Faculty Emerita from Biola University, and she authored the textbook Educating Students with Autism Spectrum Disorders: Partnering with Families for Positive Outcomes. Robin is a lifelong learner, with two Bachelor’s Degrees, two Master’s Degrees, and two Doctoral Degrees (a PhD and a DSW). She is an enthusiastic cyclist, runner, and Gigi to two grandchildren.

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