The Visible Teacher
Being an educator today requires more than working from bell to bell. Let me rephrase that, being an effective educator requires more. We all have busy lives and find that it is easy and more beneficial to us to leave at the end of a school day. No one got into this profession for “us”. Putting the needs of others ahead of our own is the very essence of being an educator. Sophocles said, “Fortune cannot aid those who do nothing.” How much are you doing?
Here a few ideas that will allow you to not only be seen, but become more appreciated outside of school. Support students in their endeavors and they will support you in yours.
Take Me Out to the Ball Game
If you’re a sports fan and are lucky enough to teach at a school that have successful sports teams this is a no-brainer for you. It’s an easy way for you to connect with the community. Try varying the contests you attend. Go to a sport that isn’t the most popular; those students are usually most grateful for your attendance.
Remember to be a vocal spectator, but also remember to be appropriate. You are not at a professional sporting event and you need to treat the two differently. Try to remind yourself that someone could be watching and listening because someone probably is doing just that.
If you are not the biggest sports buff, you should still make an effort to come out and support your student athletes. If you don’t like the big crowds of the major sporting events, get out to a quieter event. Your support will not go unnoticed or unappreciated by students, parents, and administrators.
Lights, Cameras, Eating Contests
Musicals, concerts, plays, comedy nights, talent shows, debates, chicken wing-eating contests, Mr./Ms. (your school name here) events, fashion shows, dances, semi-formals, formal formals, proms, pre-proms, post-proms, the list of activities go on and on and depending on your school. These serve as another great opportunity to get out and show your support for your school community. Many of the events that are run in my school are attached to some sort of charity. Begin your selection process by finding the event whose charity you support. These events are usually well attended and can help with your endeavors to be part of the school’s community. Or, if you’d rather, go to an event that seems a bit more low-key. Dante said it best, “Small projects need much more help than great”. You just may find that your support for the underdogs goes a long way.
Go Out In District
I’ll admit it, when I first began teaching I avoided students outside of school like they had the plague. Call it insecurity, fear, whatever you’d like; I wanted to keep my private life private. Now that I’m a bit older, I don’t worry about it as much. When students see teachers out and about they realize that you are a human being. Knowing that we leave our classrooms everyday (eventually) shows that we have lives outside of school. This is not to say that you necessarily want to invite students in to those lives, (that’s an entirely different blog post altogether) but we can allow students to see a side of us that we often feel the need to protect.
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