Monday, September 21, 2009

Watching, Always Watching

Rafe Esquith framed his keynote speech around three things teachers need to remember and think about everyday. I've been thinking about all three of them a lot lately, but I'm going to focus on one for a moment. He said that teachers are role models. Basically he was saying that, like it or not, our students are modeling themselves after us. "If you don't think your kids are watching you constantly you are sadly underestimating their powers of observation."

I figured that out years ago so this didn't come as a surprise. However, it did push me to think about some of the things I do that maybe I shouldn't. I expect my students to be silent (or nearly so) as we walk down the hall out of respect for other classes. Unlike them, I talk to teachers frequently. In my defense I do so because those opportunities to talk to colleagues are few and far between and we tend to grab them when we can. Even given that fact I'm working on curbing this habit. I don't like the message that it sends to my students that they have to be respectful of other classes but I don't.

I also tend to talk to other teachers in my classroom while the students are reading independently. That doesn't happen as often because I'm usually conferencing with students, but it does happen and I don't think it sends the right message either.

I also am often still pulling things together in the morning as the students are coming in and getting ready for morning meeting. I set a timer (as a result of some serious dilly-dallying) and I'm not always ready when it goes off. I'm not sure how I'm going to have things ready better than I do now, but I've decided I must. I have to be on the carpet when the timer rings.

I guess my take away from Esquith's point is more focused on being respectful of my students in my position as a role model. I'm much more thoughtful about what my actions say to them and I'm grateful for that.

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