I've wanted to be a primary school teacher since I myself was old enough to understand the concept
of a job, I'm guessing around reception (kindergarten) age. I fondly remember forcing my Mum/ Grandma/ friends/ anyone who would listen to play teachers with me, and it's something that never really left me. I went through a phase during sixth form where I wanted what I considered a 'proper job', where I would have to dress in a suit and be surrounded by professional looking people, who are in reality probably bored out of their minds 75% of the time. A very short lived part time job at a well known retailer quickly knocked this thought out of me and reminded me how passionate I am about teaching, and how I don't think I'd be truly happy in a job unless I felt I was making a positive difference in people's lives. The thought of filling little blank slates with knowledge of the world makes me happier than I could possibly say and it is this happiness that confirms for me the career path that is meant for me.
I'm currently studying towards an English degree and intend to do a PGCE (Post Graduate Certificate of Education) after this. In order to have a good chance of being accepted onto a PGCE, you need experience, and that's what I'm doing at the moment. I love it. I have 4 weeks of placements within schools this summer, and I'm 3 days into my first week. My class are the most wonderful group of little beans, full of life, full of imagination and above all full of hilarious quotes that I'm keeping note of for when I feel a little low- 'miss he took his shoe off and smelt his foot' is the current number one. To get to the point of this post, there's something that I've been noticing in the lessons we teach our students all over the world. We teach our little ones to share, to be kind, to make positive choices, to stay safe, and to look after the planet. But sometimes, in fact a lot of the time, we as older human beings seem to forget to uphold these things. The important rules we teach our children, and this isn't just in schools, these are things families teach too, are often broken by the people that set them. I've decided to start a series of posts about the lessons we teach our children which we could do with recapping ourselves.
Today's post is all about habits. In our class on Monday afternoon, we had a lesson all about what habits are, and what the difference is between fostering good habits and bad ones. The children took to it immediately, saying things like pulling faces, or being mean as bad habits among other lovely things like picking noses (delicious) and biting our nails (guilty as charged). Good habits were things like drinking enough water, saying 'please' and 'thank you' and sharing. These are basic things that we take for granted as adults. Things we assume are in the foundation of our knowledge and we do naturally without thinking. But I've noticed in everyday life that we could learn a lot from the pure little minds that wander around the earth remembering what their teachers told them yesterday. Habits wise, I felt a little guilty in that lesson. We had several slides about why biting nails is not a good habit to keep. I hid my hands. I've bitten my nails since the tender age of four and it's definitely linked to anxiety or anxious situations. I hated saying goodbye to my Mum at the school gates and biting my nails most likely was a way of calming myself down (A* A2 Psychology staring at you right now, oh yeah) which has stuck with me for 15 years! As of Monday I have not bitten my nails for three days, a big thing for me as I do it completely without thinking, and I've received the most adorable support from the little ones in my class- 'miss when your hand goes to your mouth you just say NO!'.
Other habits I feel as adults we could do with checking up on was the popular smoking, which children were quick to highlight as a bad habit (they couldn't quite grasp the term addiction). Did you know that smoke stays on your clothes, and seeps back into those around you, even if you weren't near them when you lit up? So even if you smoke far away from children, hours afterwards they can still be harmed by your bad habit. Looking left and right when we cross the road was another one touched on, a positive habit to foster. If you live in a dense area however, you'll see the complete idiocy of many fully grown adults when it comes to traffic. Children are taught in school to use the green cross code and be incredibly careful. But if they see adults, the people they look up to, crossing the road when the green man isn't there, forcing cars to make an emergency stop because they didn't look where they were going, how can we feel one hundred percent at ease when reminding them of the rules? Saying please, thank you and you're welcome is another one. Manners cost nothing, why not remind the adults of the future how to be polite to others and do as you would want them to? This isn't as big an issue as the other habits I've discussed but you'll be surprised how often people forget their basic P's and Q's.
I hope this hasn't sounded too 'ranty'! My overall point is that children, however quiet they might be (at times anyway!), are always watching and listening to the adults in their lives. They copy you- that's how they learn, so I think if we all tried to remember the basic lessons we were taught at school, we might make a positive contribution to the behavior of the adults of the future.
Do you remember your favourite lesson in primary school? Do you have any bad habits that you wish you could shift? I know I do! *stares at nails and shouts NO*