Sunday, March 26, 2017

Modeling Good Behaviors in the Classroom

Recently I came across this image on my Linkedin feed. I liked the content in the image so I gave it a thumbs up and reposted it without thinking twice. It looked good and the message kind of resonated with my personal experience of being a High School teacher. Often I find myself reflecting on my role in the classroom and I realize that I do a lot of parenting along with teaching. Students come with multiple home experiences and teachers often become role moles during the time they spend with students. This made me rethink the concept that even though teachers will never replace good parenting, our role in the classroom allows us to model behaviors that may have a lasting impact in the life of students.

How do I think I have modeled good behaviors in students?

1) Using kind words. Even in the midst of the most challenging situations, I always try to treat students by using respectful words such as Sr., Mss. sweetie, honey, or other ways that tell my students I respect them and I expect respect in return. Not only do I respect my students but I care about their future as responsible citizens of society.

2) Setting boundaries and clear expectations for behavior or academic work. Many of our families are led by a single parent, a foster parent, or another family member. Discipline and expectations for behavior may be unstable or unclear to our students. Children need stability and consistency in their lives; it makes for safe places. Despite the conflict that high expectations for behavior and academics may create in my classroom, students know that there is consistency.

3) Allowing opportunities for non-academic interactions. Just as students need clear expectations for behavior and academics, they need to know that someone cares about them. Getting to know the students, asking questions and opening classroom spaces during no instruction times allows students to feel welcome. It makes me so happy when my classroom door is open and I get students from other years come to say hi and share their new endeavors or accomplishments in life.

Often I find myself eating breakfast during instructional hours. I allow students to eat in the classroom as long as they clean up after themselves. It makes all of us feel more relaxed. One of my favorite breakfast items is a greek protein yogurt with added cereal or a peanut butter sandwich with almond milk. It is amazing to see some of my students replacing the morning chips and unhealthy food items with yogurt, cereal, and peanut butter sandwiches! I know students are watching and it makes me feel good to model good behaviors.

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