In the case of younger students, the ways they think about their teachers can be a bit of a mystery, and often amusement. I remember young students being dumbfounded at seeing me in the grocery store (“What are you doing here?” “Uh, buying groceries. . . .”) and with amazement explaining to a friend, “You aren’t going to believe it, our teacher drinks WATER.”
Understanding where teachers acquire their food may not be essential, but some ways students think about their teachers are important. I’ve written before about the importance of teachers modeling curiosity. Recently, I found a resource that may help you do that. Harvey “Smokey” Daniels’ book, The Curious Classroom, provides ten structures to support student-directed inquiries, each supported by several models. The first structure is “Demonstrate Your Own Curiosity.” Do your students think about you as the source-of-all-knowledge? A walking Wikipedia? Or do they understand you as a curious fellow-learner?
Daniels gives examples of teachers sharing their out-of-school life and challenges, talking about their personal reading, modeling appropriate risk taking–including a teacher who bravely allowed a physician to sew up an injury in full view of her six-year-old students–and demonstrating inquiry as a faculty team.
The Curious Classroom also includes strategies for capturing kids’ questions, investigating experts, structuring mini-inquiries, and a variety of other structures for supporting student inquiry. To begin, let’s help students see us as curious life-long learners.
If you’d like to see the author and have a bit longer introduction to the book, take a look.