Sometimes the line between professional behavior and that of casual acquaintance becomes blurred. We have all been in a position where we spoke without thinking things through and then having a nagging feeling but not being able to put our finger on why or what.
Pretty much like social media and warning kids what they post on various walls, “ once it’s out there – it’s out there”. Speaking to your students and recounting personal stories is inappropriate. Examples of various stories have recently been brought to our attention which is why we thought a short article on professionalism in this area was warranted. A story about your child who is going through a difficult time and requires therapy for substance abuse is not an appropriate topic to raise in a classroom of students. You are the Teacher and Adult. If this topic is to be raised in the class you are teaching, then surely there is a lesson plan that was left for you to follow. Do not make it Personal.
Another situation brought to our attention was; Occasional Teachers asking students to vouch for them by writing referrals for them. Again, this is inappropriate and should not be considered. What potential employer would contact a minor reference to discuss your teaching abilities? Don’t believe serious employers won’t contact your references.
Several techniques can be applied if you’re unsure of what you’re asking or doing is appropriate or not.
1. Ask someone whose professional opinion you respect. A “what would you do…..” discussion is very beneficial.
2. Take a step back and think it through. If a student asks something and you’re not sure about granting his/her request – take a minute and reflect on it. A situation arose whereby a student had requested to view some videos on Youtube that turned out to be inappropriate. Who gets in trouble? You do.
In situations such as these, sometimes thinking the following helps; imagine that your Principal or a parent is standing in your classroom, would your response be any different?
Personal presentation is also very important. You will be treated more respectfully from students and co-workers alike if you take your personal appearance seriously. A new wardrobe is not the recommendation here, yoga/sweat pants are inappropriate attire for an interview/meeting or job if you aren’t supplying for a physical education class.
Arrive on-time. A few minutes early will give you the extra time to familiarize yourself for the job at hand and will make a good impression.
Children are very impressionable. All kids need professional educators who will do just that. Put their education first as best as you can.