Educators ask a lot of students. Results may vary in terms of what students actually do when asked, and it may be that some teachers actually have rather low expectations for their charges. But by and large in the independent school community teachers are blessed with motivated, high achieving students.
I have sometimes wondered if we educators are willing to ask the same of ourselves as we ask of our students. I would like to say that we do, but I can think of some teachers, those who may operate more on cruise control than passion, may no longer be as rigorous about their own learning as they are about that of their students.
Consider what we typically ask of students:
- To accept a schedule of four to seven different courses (preparations) each day.
- To be open to new experiences, take chances, and not be afraid to fail.
- To collaborate with each other, even those they don’t like.
- To be continuously evaluated, judged, and graded and then asked to graciously accept this feedback.
- To build upon their knowledge year after year and embark on a path of lifetime learning, un-learning, and re-learning.
- To commit to a regular regime of physical fitness or athletics.
- To commit clubs and other extracurricular activities in addition to academics.
- To be happy, cheerful, optimistic,and uncomplaining.
- To be prepared for every class (read material ahead of time, think about it, practice skills). Woe be to students who come to meetings ill-prepared.
- To be polite at and not gossip about others.
- To be conscientious and safe digital citizens
- To accept the decisions of those in authority and always assume good will.
- To regularly reflect on their learning and build a portfolio of practice.
- To keep their desks. work areas, personal storage areas clean and tidy.
- To wait to go to the bathroom.
- To eat their lunch in 20 minutes.
- To always be on time.
- To always tell the truth.
- To not steal school supplies for their personal use.
- To stretch yourself by taking challenging classes.
Every adult has had a “do as I say, not as I do” moment. It may have been with your own children, your students, or perhaps both. Hopefully such moments are as instructive for us as we hope that they are for the child. Children will screw up, make mistakes and need forgiveness. Adults will, too. But we fail them if we don’t hold ourselves to higher standards. We are the grownups, they are the kids. Let’s be sure we act like the models we want them to aspire to.