We all know the old adage that you get what you give but lately I have been realizing that it is deeper than that. Not only do we get what we give, but we also get what we are. Sort of like we cannot just talk the talk, but we also have to walk the walk but that walk has to be a confident pace and not just a hesitant shuffle.
Take a teacher who fears math, although they may not show it, some of that fear will almost certainly shine through in their instruction and affect their students. How about a teacher who does not read outside of the classroom? They may not discuss their lack of reading but students will still know and so see what the true importance of reading is to to that person; little to none. Or how about the teacher that asks for respects but doesn’t give it in the heat of the moment, yup, students will see through that as well and mold their behaviors accordingly.
The thing is, we cannot fake what we are. So before we get into our classrooms at the beginning of our career, at the beginning of our year, at the beginning of the day, or at the beginning of our lesson, we need to make sure we are ready to give the right things. We need to take stock of what we give to our students based on what we are. We need to know ourselves so that we can fully understand how we teach and what we need to work on ourselves. It is only fair to our students that we lead by example, even if that means facing some of our own shortcomings.
Teaching is not just about being good at it, it is about being a teacher with everything you do: personality, actions, and yes, even how you live your life. If you want passion, then be passionate. If you want respect, then respect others. If you want curiosity then be curious yourself. We cannot just say students should be these things, we should be them ourselves.