Make an example of yourself

20th April 2007 at 01:00
Teachers should model the high standards of behaviour they expect from their pupils, says Sara Bubb

How do you come across to pupils, parents and other staff? It's really important - and is the basis of the Training and Devel-opment Agency for Schools' statement of professional values and practice.

The statement's first paragraph says you must show that you "have high expectations of all pupils; respect their social, cultural, linguistic, religious and ethnic backgrounds; and are committed to raising their educational achievement."

Phew, how do you demonstrate that? Well, it's in everything you do - what you expect of them, what you let them get away with. For instance, last term I saw new teachers allow children to call out, chat, chew gum and swear. Some pupils are praised and rewarded for producing work that they know has had minimal effort put into it.

You have to demonstrate and promote the positive values, attitudes and behaviour that you expect from your pupils. Emma is a shining example of this. Everything in her classroom is beautiful. All the resources are well organised, clean and well presented; displays are fantastic.

This lifts the spirits of all the pupils and adults in the classroom - you can see them all doing their best work.

Other teachers' rooms are a mess. Some nag at pupils about uniform when they look scruffy and, frankly, pretty grubby themselves. I heard one new teacher described as "looking like something out of the rock band Green Day".

How do you speak to pupils? One young teacher peppers all her interactions with secondary students (but not colleagues, thankfully) with "sweetheart"

and "love". It just does not sound right. Another young teacher strops into the staffroom mouthing off about her "stupid" kids. What impression is she giving to the other staff?

Are you reflective? That's another standard. Most people are constantly trying to improve their teaching by evaluating it and learning from others, but I've heard of new teachers who appear not to be bothered, or are too busy to meet their induction tutors. One mentor aired his frustration with a new teacher whose reflection about everything and anything is restricted to, "It's fine". What you look like, say and do all make a difference.

Remember that you are a professional Sara Bubb is an education consultant who specialises in induction.

Sheanswers questions on our forums at

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