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Steve Haberlin's picture
Steve Haberlin is an assistant professor of education at Wesleyan College in Macon, Georgia. He holds a Ph.D. with a specialization in elementary education from the University of South Florida. His...
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Be the Student You Want Your Students to Be

It always amazes me when teachers don’t pay attention or act respectively during faculty meetings. Sometimes, teachers can make the most difficult students. During my time as a k-12 teacher, while a principal was speaking to the faculty, some teachers would be on their cell phones, talking among themselves, or grading papers.

It’s also surprising (though, a little less considering their stage of development) when student teachers fail to turn in assignments on time or, similarly, act distracted during class.

These are the same individuals that expect their students to follow the rules and work hard.

Yes, it’s hypocritical (I said it) to expect your students to perform at high-levels and meet high expectations when you’re not willing to strive for such ideals yourself.  I think the best advice regarding this matter I heard was: Strive to be the type of student and kind of person you want your students to be.

This does not mean you must be perfect. It means you are always working on your ability to listen and focus, to produce high-quality work, to continue learning, and to treat others with respect.

The following quiz will help you gauge whether you are “being a good student.” Use the quiz results to help you ascertain whether you need to make changes (side note: we all have room to grow in this area. I have certainly got caught up in side conversations during a faculty meeting or professional development training, for instance).

  1. Do you do your best work each day?
  1. Do you consistently meet deadlines?
  1. Do you strive to improve your work?
  1. Are you responsive to feedback and constructive criticism?
  1. Do you listen when others speak (at meetings, conferences, etc.)
  1. Do you use your cell phone when others are speaking, presenting, or teaching?
  1. Do you engage in side conversations during trainings or meetings?
  1. Do you turn assignments/paperwork in on time?
  1. Are you kind and respectful to colleagues?
  1. Do you collaborate with faculty and try to contribute the larger school community?
  1. Are you truly a life-long learner? For instance, when is the last time you attended a training or course, read a book, engaged in a Professional Learning Community, or asked someone to observe your teaching?

These questions are not to penalize or criticize, rather, they are aimed at helping you reflect on your current attitude and behaviors—and determine whether your disposition represents the kind of student that you want your students to be.