Can you be an example for your students? Our students are always watching. Always. There is no way to get away from their eyes, so while we have their undivided attention (at least in that way) we might as well use it to our advantage. Whether we like it or not we are examples for our students, and it is often what we do that they pay the most attention to rather than the lessons we try to teach them.
With this in mind, why not harness this power and use it for good by being the best example we can be for our students? I am not saying we need to be perfect, because heaven knows I am certainly not, but by thinking strategically about how we are acting in front of our students we can set them on the right path for life. Following are eight easy-peasy ways to be an example for your students.
Be an Example by Reading Books
There was far too long of a time in my life where I didn’t read. I told myself that I was too busy or that I had better things to do, but the truth is that I just wasn’t reading. Instead, I was spending idle times finding the end of the internet or watching Netflix until my eyes were ready to fall out of my head. Don’t get me wrong, I still do both of those things, but I also make sure that I am taking the time to read every day as well.
On top of just reading a book, you have to talk about them with your students. I always enjoyed telling my students about what I was reading, in most generic terms, or talking about how I was exhausted because I had stayed up way too late needing to know how a book ended.
By reading and talking about our reading we show students that reading is a lifelong endeavor that you continue to grow with.
Be an Example by Listening to Experts
Despite what some of our students think, there is almost always someone that knows more about a topic than we do. By showing our students that we seek information from experts we show them that they are not responsible for knowing everything and that asking questions is an attribute.
Some of the most important words that you can use in front of your students are, “I don’t know yet, let me ask an expert.” Sometimes this expert might be another teacher or administrator and other times it might be someone that you look for on the internet or in a book. Still, at other times the expert you need might be one of your students.
When your students are able to be the expert you are not only demonstrating that you consult experts, but you are also raising up that students and building up their self-esteem.
Be an Example by Vowing to Never Stop Learning
I know so many teachers that groan and hem and haw when they are sent to PD sessions, and while I know it is never ideal to be away from your classroom it is vital that we continue to learn as professionals.
Just as important is that after your PD session you share what you learned with your students. I am not saying that you need to get into the nitty-gritty of a new teaching technique, but share an overview and let students know what they can expect to see in the classroom as a result of your new learning.
This will encourage students to also share their new learning and realize that it does not only take place at school.
Be an Example by Sharing Your Passions
Students need to know that teachers are not robots. I still remember the first time I saw one of my teachers at the grocery store, and I was confused as to why she wasn’t at school. Many of our students don’t think of teachers as people, and that needs to change.
By sharing your passions, hobbies, or tiny bits of your family life you can forge stronger relationships with your students. Sharing small details about what you did over the weekend, a meal you made at home, or a new experience can be invaluable to humanize you.
Be an Example by Asking for Feedback
It is really hard sometimes to stop the teaching train and ask for feedback, but it is vital to show our students that we are listening and wanting to grow in our profession. By asking students, their families, colleagues, and administration to give us feedback we grow as professionals as well as show our students how to take constructive criticism.
One way for students and their families to offer you feedback is through this FREE survey that can be sent home multiple times a year. The feedback you receive won’t always be easy to take, but it is always worth it.
Be an Example by Setting and Sharing Goals
Be an Example of Being Flexible
Be an Example by Surrounding Yourself with Positive People
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