Habit 5: Community Habits

This is the fifth in a series of articles entitled 5 Habits of Highly Effective Teachers.

1197684_different_is_greatCommunity Procedures
How do you interact with your community? I know for many teachers, this is a frightening proposition. Reading some things that other teachers post, it seems that most teachers who live in the same community wherein they teach either participate in public activities either in fear, out of seeming ignorance, or with balance. this is probably my weakest area and something I am seriously working to get better at. If you have any suggestions, I’d love to hear them.

Participating in fear
This is probably the category I often find myself most associated with. These people avoid most public places. They do their grocery shopping late at night, or early in the morning. In most cases, they would live in another school district if they could.

Participating out of seeming ignorance
These are the people who go out drinking at local restaurants and run to the grocery store in the middle of a Saturday wearing sweat pants and a ripped t-shirt. I wish I could be this unconcerned about things at time, but sadly I am not.

Participating with balance
I think ultimately, the best place to be as far as community participation is somewhere in the middle. If you need to go get groceries in the middle of the day, go. But I think it is best, since you may run into parents and students anywhere, for you to be sure you at least look decent. It raises respect among the others you work with.

About Joel Wagner 522 Articles
Joel Wagner (@sywtt) began teaching band in 2002. Though he had a lot of information, his classes were out of control. He found himself tired, frustrated, disrespected by students, lonely, and on the brink of quitting. He had had enough. He resigned from his school district right before spring break of his second year and made it his personal mission to learn to be a great teacher. So You Want To Teach? is the ongoing story of that quest for educational excellence.

1 Comment on Habit 5: Community Habits

  1. Thank you for such an informative and insightful post.

    When I lived and taught in Augusta, GA, I ran into parents and students constantly. Especially at the grocery store. And, it did not matter which day. Usually the encounters were quick and cordial. However, there were times when parents wanted to have an impromptu parent-teacher conference with you near the frozen foods. That wasn’t ok. But, that was the nature of this community. People lived and died in Augusta, and, their personal, professional and social lives intersected. Teachers and students attended the same church, socialized at the country club, etc. This made relationships between teachers and parents too closely connected for my liking. Anyway, a lot of one’s ability to maintain a balance largely depends on where she lives. It was also difficult to be a single in Augusta, as it is *very* family-oriented. In hindsight, I would have been much happier in ATL. Anyway, I have since found my way back North, and enjoy life – both personal and professional – so much better.

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