It's time for a gut check. Are you doing these four things in order to best serve your students?
Let's face it. We don't show up to work for ourselves. We have our own independence already. We show up to work for our students. For their lives. For THEIR independence. We work day in and day out so our students can have more independence and lead more fulfilling lives.
In order to fully serve them, we need to be doing these four things. Every year. Every quarter. Every month. It is our responsibility to stay on top of these four things in order for us to best serve them.
If they don't feel independent, if THEY don't feel like they are making strides towards being their most successful selves, then WE aren't doing our jobs well. And we do not pride ourselves on not doing our jobs well. You wouldn't be reading this if you settled for less than your best.
Four Things To Do In Order to Best Serve Your Students
1. Practice what you preach. Do you practice what you preach? Do you walk down the sidewalk with your phone in your hand? Are you texting? Do you have both earbuds in? We all do it. I know I do. Sometimes I have to send a text and I have to be somewhere else at the same time.
If we can't get our acts together to travel safely. Then we definitely can't expect THEM to. Not to mention that they have so much more to pay attention to while they are traveling. If we can't be the role models for them, then they are not going to do it.
If you are having trouble getting your students to put their earbuds down, use their canes correctly, or travel safely, then maybe we need to look at your own travel behaviors. Maybe they saw you from a distance, or maybe they know you are texting and walking.
To take it one step further, try incorporating a modeling cane while you are teaching. I have been using a model cane with many more younger students this year and I have seen a lot more success with their cane skills. I got that idea from my coworker who is visually impaired. I noticed that the students were traveling much better with her than they ever had with me. Once I started using my own cane on our lessons, their cane skills have really improved.
2. Stay current. Our entire profession is less than 100 years old. Think about how far we have come in such a short period of time. We have done GOOD with furthering our techniques, strategies, and tools. Things change all of the time. If you aren't not staying current with what is out there, then you are automatically falling behind.
You have to show up to work every day, no matter what. Why not just go the extra mile and be the best you can be so your students can be the best they can be.
3. Professional Development. Are you going to conferences or seminars? Are you reading blogs or articles? There are so many professional development opportunities around you. Whether it is in person or online.
I know your time is precious. I know you may have to cancel students and make up those students.
Think about it. At the very least you will walk away with a few really good ideas. If you go to a conference and walk out with only ONE new great idea, it can change the trajectory of your entire teaching. I know it has for me.
4. Try new things. Let's say somebody comes to you and says "This new cane skill, zippity-boppity-boo (I just made that up), has been working. Maybe you try it out. Maybe you look in to it a little more.
Sometimes we can get so stuck in our ways. We can get so stuck in "This is how you use this skill." or "This is the type of student I use this type of skill with". I know that it's easier.
If you challenge yourself to try new things. YOU are going to become better. Moreover, your students are going to become better. They are going to become better travelers. They are going to become more successful in the world.
Sometimes our students just need a new way of thinking about things in order for it to click for them.
If you jive with this, then you will LOVE the content available in the International Orientation and Mobility Symposium!
Which of these four ideas are you going to try this week? Let's all become better Orientation and Mobility Specialists!