VIGNETTES SERIES 19: ‘TOWARD BEING ‘DOERS’ and ‘CREWING THE CLASSROOM’
‘SAYERS’ AND ‘DOERS’
There are two kinds of personalities in this world. Regardless of what we do when we go these personality types are with us. There are the “sayers” and the “doers”.
I believe it is very important as educators to be people who earn the respect of others
by “living” the statements that we make in the positions that we uphold to others. It is all together too easy to be somebody who commands and ask other people to do things and to act in particular ways. That after all is a part of the teaching and development of others. However we need to be prepared to live by the precepts we espouse. Unless we adhere in our lives to the things we ask of others we will not earn their respect.
“Do as I do” is very important in the teacher – pupil relationship. If students know us as teachers who live by this principle their respect will be enhanced. This applies to every aspect of that relationship.
If we want children to be on time and say so, then we need to be on time ourselves. Everyone children to return promptly after recess and lunch, then we can’t avoid is teachers to be late ourselves. If we want children to wear hats out in the playground then as teachers we need to do the same. If we put it upon children to keep their desks and tidy tray is clean neat and tidy, then teachers’ tables and working benches should be kept the same way.
I don’t believe we should ask the children to maintain standards that we are not prepared to maintain ourselves. And example might be handwriting. If we ask children to take care when they’re writing in where books then we need to have the same set of standards that we maintain with written work. We might think the children don’t sense or understand what we’re doing but believe you me, they are very sharp and perceptive in that regard.
The principle extends to the way in which we approach our teaching tasks. The precepts or tenets under which we operate should not just be sets of empty words but reflective of vibrant teaching practices. In that way we earn the respect of our colleagues, the community and of course our students.
There may be occasions when we have to depart from the norm of usual operation. If that’s the case I believe it important that students and close colleagues understand why on the particular occasion the expected process can’t be followed.
Respect is a very important quality and in many ways the cement the binds those within an organisation together. It is a key value. If we earn the respect of others, self-respect also develops.
PLAYING ‘CAPTAINS AND CREW’ WITH TECHNOLOGY
There is increasing focus within classrooms upon technology and its use to promote teaching and learning. One of the things of which we have to be careful is the technology doesn’t take over. Technological tools are servants to be used in the enhancement of what we offer our student groups. We should never allowed to take over and dominate. Technology is a good servant but can be a bad master.
For older teachers particularly but younger ones as well, technology can be confusing. There is so much to learn and keeping abreast of developments can be hard. There is also a tendency to keep things not fully understood at arm’s-length. The case in point for myself was reluctant to come to terms with Learnline, a critically important communications tool I needed to understand in order to work with external students at university. I got over that concern and learned to use the tool and now try and keep abreast of upgrades and enhancements.
I was always appreciative of the fact that smart boards and other devices came toward the end of my teaching career. Being nervous about using and applying technology is not wise but certainly exists.
In 1996, there was an article in ‘The Australian’ newspaper written fro memory by Heather Gabriel. This column suggested that teachers in classrooms avoid becoming petrified of technology. Rather than stressing over understanding, the writer suggested teachers regard themselves as captains and students as the crew of a ship. The purpose of any journey is to get from Point A to Point B. To achieve that, a ship’s captain employs the expertise of his or her crew and acts as the overall controller.
Similarly, children often know a lot more about the intricacies of technology than teachers. Delegating children to use that knowledge to manage the ‘mechanics of technology’ can help avoid glitches and facilitate smooth sailing. Keeping an eye on the way technology is being used helps avoid the shortfalls (wrong sites and so on) that can find their way onto computer screens.
This approach promotes a collaborative and shared classroom. And over time, teachers learn a lot from children about ‘what works’ on the technological front.
Try it, it works.