Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Are You Present?

Students.  How do teachers know they are present?

Sure, you can take attendance.  How else?  I asked a few students this question.  Here is what they said.

"Teachers know I am present..."

  • when I ask good questions
  • when I give good answers
  • when I do really good work
  • when I contribute to the class

They also said:
  • when I am a distraction to the class
  • when I do not have my work done
  • when I am unprepared to participate

After reading these responses, you may notice that they fall into one of two broad categories.  Teachers know students are present when students are either:
  1. actively engaged in the class
  2. completely disengaged in the class.
Now, apply the same test to teachers.  How do your students know you are present?  How does your administrator know you are present?

Administrators, how do teachers know you are present?  How do students know you are present?

For teachers and administrators, a similar approach to engaging students, parents, and colleagues ensures your obvious and engaged presence.  Such a presence is achieved with taking a student-centered approach.  This approach includes an emphasis on building internal motivation, a focus on growth mindset, and using effective and disciplined communication strategies.  In addition, viewing your class as your cause and developing an "Open House Culture" is a clear signal to others that you are fully present and engaged.  Open House Cultures are friendly, trustworthy, reliable, responsive, and interactive.

Taking attendance may be necessary for record keeping, but noting who is truly present is necessary for establishing a learning environment.

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