It’s approximately 1:20 pm and students will be released at 1:55. They are all buried in their Chromebooks and except for an occasional outburst from a renegade Chromebook or a whisper, the room is quiet.

As a leader, educator and role model, I have no immediate tasks to perform. My function is to prevent chaos, disruption and unprescribed fun.

While I prefer those settings where I can interact with students, that’s not an option today. My time in class amounts to one hour of supervision. So what should I be doing other than deterring noise? While some of my colleagues may use laptops for personal business, read books or text their loved ones, it’s not right. At the same time, I’m not going to practice math, read the dictionary or immerse myself in meditation.

Instead, I’ll let the fourth graders see me write. Very often, they will ask what I’m writing, and I’ll disclose that I have a blog or that I am working on my next book.

In other words, emulating their teacher must be by intention and example. And it can’t be casual or half-hearted, sending a distinct message that education isn’t taking place if their usual teacher isn’t present.

Sadly, I believe that cavalier attitudes about learning have disastrous results. When parents don’t show up for events, don’t ask their children about homework and don’t attend teacher conferences, kids get clear messages that education is unimportant.

Likewise, if I don’t enforce the rules, don’t confirm that work is being done and generally don’t assume responsibilities for educating, I may as well be herding sheep.

By no means do I consider myself the quintessential educator or source of scholarly wisdom. But I do perform my work quite sincerely and hope to be remembered for that focus. Shalom.

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