I couldn’t decide what to write today (which seems to be the story of my life right now), but was bailed out by Teach Write’s word of the day. As soon as I saw today’s word, habit, I had an idea. By the way, if you’re not familiar with Teach Write, I highly recommend checking it out at teachwrite.org or on Twitter @TeachWriteEDU.
Sometimes, a habit becomes something done by rote without much consideration. Some habits are good for us, while others may make us cringe. We can go through the motions to the point that they become meaningless—just another thing we do during the day.
Students pick up on our habits. My kids notice the ever-present McDonald’s cup that I have every morning (but now it’s half sweet/half unsweet). They notice that I have a habit of writing with InkJoy pens. They’re well aware that I regularly forget to change the date on the whiteboard without their reminders. These seem like little things, but I think it’s important to remember that they’re paying attention because if they notice things like my McDonald’s cup and pens, then they’re going to notice my habits as a reader and writer. They’ll know if I’m walking the walk, or if I’m just telling them to do something because I’m the teacher and they’re the students. They know when reading and writing is a habit and not just something written into a lesson plan. They’ll notice when I’m writing beside them and start crossing out and adding words. They’re observing when I’m searching for the right word. They’ll recognize that writing is a habit for me and not just something I do when I think they’re looking. As a teacher who writes, making sure that students are aware of my habits is non-negotiable and essential.