Monday, May 28, 2007

On being a worthy model.....

It's a staple of good parenting, and of good teaching.... Be sure and model the behavior you want your kids to demonstrate.

So when teachers use sarcasm and bullying tactics to get their message across, how can we be surprised when these same kids are disrespectful and detached?

When we teachers seem bored with our lessons, when we lack passion and deep understanding of our discipline, how can we be surprised when our students' approach to learning is joyless?

It's a fundamental truth in my classroom: as I implore my students to work hard to stay in control - to choose more appropriate ways to handle their anger - I have to be vigilant as I deal with my own frustrations in the classroom. No yelling. No physical outbursts, no banging on a desk or slamming a door. No threatening. No blaming others.

It's no wonder I go home somedays and feel completely exhausted. Keeping my emotions in check when so much around me is chaotic is draining. Sometimes, at the end of the day, my voice is raspy and strained; not from raising my voice, but from working so hard to control it.

But it's much easier to sleep at night when I've been true to my goals. When I slip and get testy, I can forgive myself, but only if I promise to try harder. The kids deserve it, of course. And no matter how righteous it sounds, it is satifying to do what is good for kids.


Beacon Bytes Sysop said...

From a 31 year retired high school teacher who came back to work this past school year as an in school assistant (teacher) for suspended (1 to 10 days) middle school students I applaud your post. You the teacher are the core of the lesson. Your students are apprentices to you the adult in the room. You must model every behavior you want to teach. I started a blog, Suspended Voices, of my suspended students' essays to help them see that what they wrote was important. We teachers must validate them and their behavior. Keep up the good work. Henry

JohnL said...

Mrs. Ris, this is such a good a observation. I pass this idea on to the pre-service teachers with whom I work every semester, but I'm not sure it ever sticks. Thanks for the reminder.

One of my favorite collaries to it is this one: If you treat something like it is important, your students are much more likely to treat it as important, too. This applies to school work, tests, and other people. Modeling respect is an important component of teaching.

Voicu Mihnea Simandan said...

Teaching is like acting. We have to keep our feelings in check. The students feel when the teacher is frustrated or bored and they act accordingly. If the teacher is energetic the students will not fall asleep during the lesson. A teacher's attitude is contagious!

Kay Davis said...

Modeling is so important. Thank you for serving as a model, not only for your students, but the aspiring teachers who read your blog.

Anonymous said...

Being a positive role model is very important for students. As a parent and a future teacher it is very encouraging. I want my children to have a teacher that they can admire and respect.