8 Ways to be an Example for Your Students

Your students' eyes are always on you, so use it to your advantage with these 8 ways you can be an example for your students!
Our students are always watching. Always. There is no way to get away from their eyes, so while we have their undivided attention (at least in that way) we might as well use it to our advantage. Whether we like it or not we are examples for our students, and it is often what we do that they pay the most attention to rather than the lessons we try to teacher them.

With this in mind why not harness this power and use it for good by being the best example we can be for our students? I am not saying we need to be perfect, because heaven knows I am certainly not, but by thinking strategically about how we are act in front of our students we can set them on the right path for life. Following are eight easy peasy ways to be an example for your students.

Read Books

There was far too long of a time in my life where I didn't read. I told myself that I was too busy or that I had better things to do, but the truth is that I just wasn't reading. Instead I was spending idle times finding the end of the internet or watching Netflix until my eyes were ready to fall out of my head. Don't get me wrong, I still do both of those things, but I also make sure that I am taking the time to read every day as well.

On top of just reading book, you have to talk about them with your students. I always enjoyed telling my students about what I was reading, in mostly generic terms, or talking about how I was exhausted because I had stayed up way too late needing to know how a book ended.

By reading and talking about our reading we show students that reading is a lifelong endeavor that you continue to grow with.

Listen to Experts

Despite what some of our students think, there is almost always someone that knows more about a topic than we do. By showing our students that we seek information from experts we show them that they are not responsible for knowing everything, and that asking questions is an attribute.

Some of the most important words that you can use in front of your students are, "I don't know yet, let me ask an expert." Sometimes this expert might be another teacher or administrator and other times it might be someone that you look for on the internet or in a book. Still at other times the expert you need might be one of your students.

When your students are able to be the expert you are not only demonstrating that you consult experts, but you are also raising up that students and building up their self esteem.

Never Stop Learning

I know so many teachers that groan and hem and haw when they are sent to PD sessions, and while I know it is never ideal to be away from your classroom it is vital that we continue to learn as professionals.

Just as important is that after your PD session you share what you learned with your students. I am not saying that you need to get into the nitty gritty of a new teaching technique, but share an overview and let students know what they can expect to see in the classroom as a result of your new learning.

This will encourage students to also share their new learning and realize that it does not only take place at school.

Share Your Passions

Students need to know that teachers are not robots. I still remember the first time I saw one of my teachers at the grocery store, and I was confused as to why she wasn't at school. Many of our students don't think of teachers as people, and that needs to change.

By sharing your passions, hobbies, or tiny bits of your family life you can forge stronger relationships with your students. Sharing small details about what you did over the weekend, a meal you made at home, or a new experience can be invaluable to humanizing you.

Ask for Feedback

It is really hard sometimes to stop the teaching train and ask for feedback, but it is vital to show our students that we are listening and wanting to grow in our profession. By asking students, their families,  colleagues, and administration to give us feedback we grow as professionals as well as show our students how to take constructive criticism.

One way for students and their families to offer you feedback is through this FREE survey that can be sent home multiple times a year. The feedback you receive won't always be easy to take, but it is always worth it.

Set and Share Goals

Your students' eyes are always on you, so use it to your advantage with these 8 ways you can be an example for your students!Setting goals is what life is all about, and so often in the classroom we ask students to set goals, but don't share our own. I love to tell students about my goals in the classroom as well as outside of school. As I work towards these goals I will let students in on how they are going. I especially take care to share any setbacks that I face while working towards my goals to show students that it happens and you have to continue to persevere. 

By sharing progress and setbacks you show students that goals aren't linear.

Be Flexible

I know that I would LOVE for every day to go exactly according to plan, but that just isn't going to happen. By showing our students that we can roll with the punches and make the best of every situation we show them what it looks like to be flexible and not get discouraged by things that are out of our control. 

I would encourage you to talk out these moments with your students. For example, "I would have liked to have done one more rotation of math stations, but with the fire drill today let's go ahead and clean up so we are ready to dive right into reading when we come back. We will make sure to plan extra time tomorrow for stations."

Surround Yourself with Positive People

One of the absolute best things that we can teach our students is that your friends can make or break you. By showing our students that having a diverse, positive, well rounded group of friends is an absolute life saver we encourage them to make good choices in the people that they surround themselves with as well. 

I like to share tiny details about my friendships with my students such as, "I am so proud of Mrs. V. She has been working really hard to exercise every day and it has really encouraged me to go to the gym with her after school," or "Have you noticed that Mr. P has really been practicing the piano? He sounds great, and I love his passion for music."

By showing the positive influence that your friends have on you, you can spread this idea to how our students choose who they would like to surround them in their lives. 

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  1. You make some great points! Thank you so much for the survey! Keeping the lines of communication open and getting continuous feedback throughout the year is key to a successful and happy school year for all involved! Keep up the great work...you rock!! :-)

  2. Thank you Tara! I love the feedback from both students and their families!


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