At one point this week, they were working on addition and subtraction. (We're working to be fluent and fast in our addition and subtraction, especially within 10.) I told one boy to check what he had written. He looked at it and hit his forehead. "Oh, man," he said as he began to erase.
"You just made a mistake when you were adding, didn't you?" I said. He nodded. He looked so dejected.
"You made a mistake. That's okay," I said. "Just take care when you are working. Don't rush. But it's okay. You just made a mistake. Everyone makes mistakes. You make mistakes. Mr. Wiley makes mistakes. All of us make mistakes."
Another boy looked up. "You make mistakes?" he said.
I was surprised at his comment. I make mistakes all the time. I try to admit them when I make them in class. "Of course I make mistakes," I said. "I make lots of mistakes. But I want to learn when I make mistakes and be more careful next time." A reminder that I need to be transparent as a example to my students.
As I've written before, my class is talkative and loud. I'm working to keep the classroom at an acceptable level for everyone to learn and work (including me). I was talking to the class and I noticed that my voice was really loud. And that's not at a time I was trying to talk over the other voices. I don't do that now. I stop and wait for the room to quiet down before I continue talking. But I was talking at a loud volume...and it even hurt. I dropped my voice to a lower level. I would catch myself talking loud at various times. I must consciously focus on keeping my voice at a good volume. This is a good example for the kids...and helps me keep from straining my voice. My actions set the standard for their actions.
Example and relationships are some of the most important things I bring to the classroom. Sometimes I use them well. Sometimes I fall short. But I always want to strive to be a teacher that children can follow and emulate.