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Humility is the honest desire to look for and do what is right for other people, all of the time. When you spend time with children and youth as a teacher, youth worker, parent, or other supportive adult it can be hard to be humble.

That’s because many of us were taught from a young age that adults always know best for young people, no matter what the issue, time, place, or outcomes. That type of egotism can get in the way of being successful at truly supporting children and youth.

For more than 20 years, my goal has been to transform the roles of children and youth throughout society from being the passive recipients of adult-driven lives to become active partners in everything, everywhere, all of the time. Practicing humility can allow adults to practically and successfully do that.

8 Ways for Teachers to Practice Humility

Here are eight things you can do to be practice humility with young people right now.

  1. Tell students you don’t know everything, and show them that’s okay;
  2. Be the first one to ask students for help and and seek their guidance constantly;
  3. Show students that you accept, take responsibility for, and to admit your weaknesses and mistakes;
  4. Practice forgiveness with students out loud and constantly;
  5. Constantly be enthusiastic, courageous, and honest with students;
  6. Be vulnerable and transparent with students whenever feasible and appropriate;
  7. Trust students; and
  8. Be willing to help students when you can and show students how to be of service to others.

Through my practice, I have come to believe its important to practice humility in every setting where adults serve young people. This is true of classrooms, in afterschool spaces, during summertimes, and anywhere adults and young people are together.

Humility is a core value of each program and service I offer, and its a best practice in the most dynamic and engaging school environments. When adults practice humility with their students, they can powerfully and positively move forward with engaging young people in meaningful ways wherever they are!

Do you have thoughts, ideas, concerns, or considerations you’d like me to read? Please share them in the comments section.

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Adam F.C. Fletcher is available to consult, speak, and write.