Anyone classroom teacher can certainly sympathize with the level of commitment it takes to bring energy and excitement to the teaching profession day in and day out. By expressing enthusiasm to your students it helps them share to your excitement for the content. I've had moments that exemplify clarity of purpose and moments of just showing up for another day of work, certainly we can all relate to both conditions during our careers.
We should be sure that our students get the best of what we have to offer so that our profession will never be just another day at the office. Lately I have made some very deliberate changes to my health and nutrition and it has drastically reinvigorated my classroom climate. I know that is because I have the energy and enthusiasm I should have, allowing me keep up with my students, perhaps even surpass them regarding mood and health. I am happy to show curious people what I have done, but that is not the focus of this post.
The reason why it feels important to share this thought is because we need to bring the best versions of ourselves to the classroom. If any of you entered this profession for similar reasons as myself, you want to change the way young people see the world. We want to make the world a better place, invest in the next generation, and help our society thrive for many generations into the future.
Here is my call to action, get up, take a walk, loose some weight, read a book, eat healthy food, follow your passions, make time for new relationships, enjoy the sunshine, and love the life you live. We need to be the best version of ourselves if we can ever hope to teach students to do the same. Our students learn much more by the way they observe our actions than anything they do on a homework assignment. We need to inspire our students by giving them an example of how to live a happy and health life.
Lead by example, take care of your body, develop your character, and become the best version of yourself. It is the only way to teach your students to do the same.
One thing that seems to be overlooked all too frequently is the process of building culture in the classroom. During my credential program they always suggested doing multiple days of name games and other getting to know you activities. This is a good start, but a well established culture goes so much deeper than simply knowing each other's name. We should have a shared investment in the classes productivity, a clear vision of what we are trying to accomplish, and a vested interest in our fellow classmates, not just for grades, but because we are in this together.
One thing I have begun lately is being referred to by students as meaningful Monday's. For my class of seniors, each Monday during the last 8 weeks of the year are dedicated to personal growth, setting goals, and learning from our past triumphs and mistakes. I have shared some personal stories of trial and tribulation, and facilitated students to share lessons from their past or goals for their future. Simply going through with the process of publicly stating our goals makes them much more tangible. We all need to be held accountable to reach for the highest version of ourself, and the best way to do that is to involve the people in our lives throughout the process.
Be the example you want your students to follow and they will have a clear picture of how to become the best version of themself. To me that currently means showing my true colors, speaking out about my goals, overcoming my fears, and loving each person that comes into my life in whatever way is appropriate to the situation.
By: Mr. Woodford
I will reflect on ideas and practices I learn through my formative years as a classroom math teacher.