I have a lot of experience babysitting. I have watched kids for friends of the family, as well as had consistent summer jobs babysitting. For the first time, I’ve noticed something very interesting about the similarities and differences in being a babysitter and being a teacher. For example, I have a tendency to act like a kid. I like to run around and play games, act goofy, make faces, etc. and this has made me a very popular sitter to have around. And camp counselor for that matter. But as a teacher, I’ve missed this. Being a teacher sometimes means being the ‘bad guy’ when it comes to classroom management or having those difficult discussions at morning meeting about bullying or less than desirable behavior in the classroom.
Although I enjoy these additional responsibilities, as well as the academic ones, I have also noticed that I miss out on being the kids’ friend. Is this something that all teachers go through? And how do I know what the right measure of friendship/silliness can accompany being a classroom teacher? During my word study lesson on Thursday, I was tackling the –er and –est endings. I used some examples by showing students that were tall, taller, and tallest out of a group. We then did an old, older, and oldest with a student and the two teachers. This activity was a lot of fun, because the students got to call their teachers ‘old.’ Of course, we had fun with it too. However, the next day when grading their homework, I noticed that many of the students (more than usual) had missed some of the biggest concepts and rules involved in that lesson. Is this because I made the lesson too fun? Was it a distraction to the real information that needed to be learned? I struggle with finding a balance between being the teacher and being goofy and having fun with my students. How do you know where to draw the line?