“Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.”
For at least three years, my greatest challenge as a teacher was being myself. As I was surrounded by several nationally awarded master teachers, I thought that if I imitated what they did in the classroom that I would be a natural success. That was an incorrect assessment. Of my colleagues, I wasn’t the attitudinal and sassy math teacher nor was I the gentle, soft spoken reading teacher who could calm even the most barbaric class. I was me--fun, creative, and nice with the ability to establish a positive rapport with the toughest parent and student. By the end of my third year of teaching, I realized that a part of my classroom management problems stemmed from the fact that students viewed me as “a fake” desperately trying to channel my authority from the teaching style of my other colleagues. So how did I become authentic? I made the decision to be me.
The summer before my next school year, I bought a more professional wardrobe that reflected my personal style. Once school began, I created “Academic Game Fridays” whereby students would earn fun ways to review content via homework completion and class behavioral points. After direct instruction, I also offered a five minute “Joy Factor” which were anecdotes I shared about my (appropriate) high school college experiences which included choosing classes, extracurricular activities, and college tours. Most importantly, I used humor to my advantage and adapted a classroom management style that not only fit my personality but was taken seriously by my students.
The end result? I had minimal behavioral issues, students learned, and I had such an enjoyable teaching experience that I looped with the same group of students the following year. This allowed me to make two years’ worth of instructional and behavioral impacts with students. The most gratifying effect was that my countless telling of “Joy Factors” led several of my students to attend my college Alma Mater. I believe great things happen to a teacher when they decide to become authentic.
Teacher’s Tips: How can I be authentic* as a teacher?
Share: How do you practice being "authentic" as a classroom teacher?
*Authentic Teaching is different than being an authentic teacher. Authentic teaching is an educational philosophy of instruction while the act of being authentic is considered to be one's true self. More posts to follow on authentic instruction.
I am an education coach and consultant as well as an executive functioning coach for children struggling with ADD/ADHD. You can also check out this blog at aquinaseducationcoaching.wordpress.com and