So last night I got what was possibly meant to be a sage piece of teaching advice “Fake it until you make it” – to put it into context it was linked to the idea of effective teaching behaviours and how to change yours to match. However, shortly before this was the idea that personality is not linked to teacher effectiveness.
We bring our personality into the classroom every day. Some of us are introverts, some extroverts and some somewhere inbetween. Our personalities define us as human beings rather than clones. This idea that personality doesn’t affect our teaching effectiveness seems slightly alien. Are Muijs, Lemov et all suggesting that we should simply be Blade Runner style replicants, some kind of Stepford Teachers in order to become effective machines?
At the heart of teaching lies basic human relationships. If we cannot build these with our pupils then we have no hope in getting them to learn. If personality doesn’t come into the equation then how can people that are truly introverted build relationships quickly with whatever the school lets into our classrooms?
Recently I’ve been thinking a lot about these relationships and how they affect the tone of a school. Moving from a big to a small school has really made me consider the importance of personal and professional relationships. Our school is such that there is no hiding away. We have a lovely, family atmosphere and this can be seen right across school. We celebrate little things; it’s a common sight to wander into another classroom to see what they’ve been up to, seeing another class rise to challenges in this way is amazing. No longer am I just locked away in my own personal fiefdom. My classroom door is normally open now and I encourage visitors to just drop in. Key to all of this is working in a community of trust, at all levels.
So I challenge the fake it mentality. If we are faking it, in a school community, then we will be found out. Children are immense at taking the weather we set and using it. If I started faking it then my class would smell the rat, knowing that it’s not my personality driving what we are doing.
Ultimately we are all different. How we achieve what we achieve in our classrooms has to be down to us. Yes, there are some behaviours that contribute to effective teaching and we can work on these but if a system is trying to make us into something we are not then are we broken or is the system?