Sunday, June 21, 2009

Why I Want to Be More Accessible to My Students

When I wrote my Teacher Manifesto I wrote this promise:

I promise to be more available to my students. I will give them my phone numbers, email address, and Twitter name. I will encourage them to communicate with me outside of school. I will be available to help them with their education when they need help, not just during our class period.

I received lots of comments about this particular promise, and I want to explain why I included this promise.

My students live in what America considers poverty. We have in our school 90% of the students on free or reduced lunch. There are a huge number of students that live in single parent or single parent with extended family homes. These single parents are by a very large majority women. The male role models in many of my students lives are in prison, on drugs, or have other socially unacceptable problems. I may be the closest positive male role-model my students ever have.

While this information may explain why I might feel compelled to be more available to my students, it is not the reason.

I believe that one of the most important things I strive teach my students is to love to learn and to continue to learn throughout their lives. I have learned much more outside of the classroom walls. I continue to learn, most of which takes place at night, on weekends, and over summer break. This is what I want to model to my students. How can I do this if I don't allow my students to see what I do when I am not in the classroom?

I have been reminded often to model to my students the behaviors I want them to see from them. I'm stepping up to the challenge.

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