What does a good role model do?
Teachers are natural role models. Correction, some are. There are some teachers who bring the profession into disrepute and are far from role models.
Let’s start again.
Teachers have the potential to be inspiring role models that children ‘look up to’ but what exactly is it that they do?
1. They are a positive life force
Teachers that are role models show pupils how to live with honesty, optimism, confidence, determination, passion and compassion. They play a powerful part in a child’s positive development as calm, confident and happy people. They do what is right and don’t tolerate bullying. Take a look at what Daniel Thomas Gray has to say in relation to being open about your sexuality and being role models to students:
— 🌈Daniel Thomas Gray (@thatgayteacher) May 30, 2018
2. They make a difference
Actually, they make a real difference. A teacher full of integrity, hope and positivity is able to make waves and bring about changes in even the most disillusioned learner. They make things happen because they possess what Paul Dix calls ‘deliberate botheredness‘.
3. They put children first
Teachers that fight children’s corner and champion their cause are wonderful role models. They put children at the centre of everything they do and put their ego away. This job is only ever about what’s best for children.
4. They focus on the good
It’s good that teachers share who they are but sometimes this can be ‘too much information’. Children definitely do not need to listen to our workload woes and how the job is ‘stressing me out’. Leave that right out of the equation. Role models focus on the positive and they make sure that’s what their conversations are full of.
5. They make children work
Role models inspire children to ‘get on’. They are motivators who don’t even have to be in the room to make an impact. They encourage children to pick themselves up, work hard and keep at it. They are hardworking themselves and this is evident in everything they do.
6. They develop self-efficacy
They make children believe in themselves as people who can do whatever is in front of them. They cultivate a fierce sense of self-belief and pride that they are on this planet for a reason and to make a difference.
7. They show how to get over the obstacles
Life is full of barriers and things that get in the way of progress. Role models help children to see that this is normal and so the key is how we respond. They show them how to persevere, problem-solve, never give up and bounce back from any setbacks. They teach them initiative and a positive mindset to overcome and get over things.
8. They think outward
Role models serve others and that means they think about their school community and its surrounding communities. They recognise social and economic barriers but they are non-judgmental and appreciate that everyone’s circumstance is uniquely shaped. Where they can help they will. They respect diversity and accept others for who they are and they communicate and interact with everyone.
9. They never stop learning
Role models are the first to admit they are not the ‘finished article’ They are constant learners, they challenge themselves to move out of their comfort pits and they look at how they can improve. They make mistakes, accept accountability, practice humility and learn from what they do or didn’t do.
10. They have presence
Role models have that special quality that makes us want to be like them. They achieve this by being optimistic and creative and having an upbeat and can-do outlook on life.
So role models possess a portfolio of qualities. They have integrity, they are relationship-focused, they are change-makers with authority and leadership, they are inclusive and pioneering, accessible and fallible, well-rounded, confident, resilient, authentic and positive. They really are quite amazing and you are probably one of them.