Do as I say, Not as I do
Each morning, I open my can of energy drink in the secrecy of the staff room. This is smuggled inside of my bag and often drunk alone, the evidence carefully stashed in the staff recycling bin. I then move stealthily to my classroom, energized for the day. On this journey I will publicly advertise the fruit or health bar that I have brought for breakfast. This spruiking of healthy ideals continues during fitness, when I run the laps of the field with my learners, in silent reading, as I read alongside my learners, or at morning tea when I proudly take out my lunchbox filled with nutritious goodies.
As I teach at a health-promoting school, I am constantly discussing well-being with my learners: We have conversations about the benefits of physical activity before fitness each morning, while the school rules make special mention of the unacceptability of soft drinks and lollies within the grounds. The rules about sustained silent reading and book logs are in a similar vein, though the focus is upon healthy academic behaviour instead. I believe that it is only fair that I follow the same patterns as my learners. I don't want to be a hypocritical teacher, preaching "do as I say, not as I do".
While my secret energy drink consumption is unknown to my students (and one day I will kick the caffeine addiction), there are other things that I have done that might appear hypocritical.
|Learning to Photoshop with my students! (Student work on left)|
I am always telling my students the importance of learn, create, share. I have learned and created alongside them, but often I do not model creating or sharing. I have only recently started sharing my writing with my learners, as both an exemplar and as part of our writing community. Yet throughout the term I encouraged my students to be open about sharing their writing with one another.
In Art, I cheered each of my students along, despite their disbelief in their skills. I encouraged every child to create something that they would be proud of and each piece of artwork was put up on display outside of our classroom, to be shared with their peers. I also started a piece of artwork beside them, using it to model the various techniques I wished them to use. However, I didn't share my finished artwork with them, I actually took it home before they had the chance to see it!
|My Flora and Fauna painting|
Next term, my emphasis will be on openness: that my students are as able to view my works as I am able to experience theirs. I have seen how much they appreciate the things that I share with them, be it something I have written, or even my poor Photoshop skills! I will make sure that I model all of our school values in my classroom, although it may take me a while to kick the caffeine addiction and lose the energy drinks.