The Teacher Tip
Start with Yourself as an Engaged Learner
June 7, 2017
by Patricia Vitale-Reilly
The first time I flew with my now fourteen-year-old daughter, she was a baby, only nine months old. I listened attentively to the flight attendant as she went through the drill of what to do in an emergency and was appalled by the direction that if the oxygen in the cabin dropped I was to put the oxygen mask on myself first, then my child. How could I deny this precious nine-month-old baby oxygen while I was breathing? But then I realized that if I did not give myself oxygen first, I would not be able to care for my child. What at first felt counterintuitive suddenly felt right. As teachers, we encounter this same phenomenon. We want to be there for our students and for our school community, and sometimes we forget to take care of ourselves. Therefore, when we consider our students’ engagement, we need to start with ourselves as engaged learners. We can do this in three ways:
1. Find our teaching passions, the things that will keep us focused and interested as educators.
2. Maintain a rich professional reading and learning life.
3. Create a network of like-minded professionals with whom we can collaborate and commiserate.
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