In a previous job a colleague of mine used to sign off his emails with the phrase “the standards you set are the standards you get”. At the time I used to think of him as a pretentious sod. But as I’ve moved through my teaching career I have held that phrase in high regard myself. Does this make me equally as pretentious or does it lay the foundations for a successful teaching career?
In my opinion, as a teacher, it all begins with how you present yourself to your students. Therefore, in order to get pupils to conform to the school’s uniform policy, one must reflect that policy in how they dress. Therefore I am a firm believer that all teachers (apart from those who teach PE) should be wearing formal, professional attire i.e. Suits for men (yes, including a tie!). Long gone should be the days of teachers coming into work wearing hoodies and polo shirts. We are screaming that our profession needs to be treated like other comparable roles, such as lawyers, therefore we need to dress in the appropriate manner. Also, This professional appearance really does rub off on the kids, which is surely our primary objective. How hypocritical is it that some teachers who come to work in casual clothing are telling the pupils to smarten up?!
Secondly, during one of my objectives, I was told that my vocabulary could be a challenge for the students and that I should consider changing it. I could not disagree more. I think that we should constantly be challenging our pupils and one of the easiest ways for us to do this is through our choice of words. If we continue to use language which the pupils are already very comfortable with then we are not helping them. In my classroom, I use more complex vocabulary and when I have introduced a new word, I will give a brief explanation of what it means. For example, I was talking to year 7 about people becoming prosperous, and I quickly stated that prosperous means rich or well off. Ta-da new vocabulary introduced and the pupils are still comfortable with what they are being told. Surely this is commonplace in our classrooms across the country?
This is a re-blog post originally posted by @MrHistoryUK and published with kind permission.
The original post can be found here.