Life lessons from lunch boxes.

Words are powerful tools and as teachers, we should always be aware of what we say around our students. I learnt this lesson in one of my classrooms as an early career teacher.

I was teaching literacy lesson on Dougal’s Deep Sea Diary (it’s a fantastic read!). the students were hard at work writing their own version of Dougal’s Diary in response to his diving adventures. While the students were writing a colleague of mine came into the room and was discussing with me what my plans were for the holidays. Under my breath, I said to him “I’m going away, it is going to be awesome.”

I thought nothing of it, he left the room and the lesson continued without concern. The next day, while I was introducing a lesson on data, I told the students that we would be making a lunch box graph. The purpose of the lesson was to see what the most popular coloured lunchbox was. I heard a girl turn to her classmate and whisper ‘Graphs are awesome!’

I was amazed, and before I knew it the rest of my class were using the word to describe all sorts of exciting events. “Awesome” became so popular that I actually had to ban the word as it was the only adjective that they would use “The cat sat on the awesome mat”… and “The new playground equipment is awesome” were phrases that would frequent discussions.

As excited, as I was that the students’ descriptions were developing I also realised just how much students see their teacher as a role model and how they seem to copy everything that you do. Lucky for me, they picked up the word “awesome”, but I wonder what words we let slip out that we’d rather not have our students mimicking on mass?

This is why is so important to:

  • Be very careful about the words that you use when speaking to your class.

  • Throw away negative comments, eye-rolls or head shakes.

  • Remember that your class thinks the world of you.

  • Remember that your class is watching your every move, from interactions with the class to parents and other teachers.

As educators, you hold an immense amount of influence in your classroom. To your class, you are the one with the answers and the one who offers support. In some cases, your opinion holds more weight than any other adult figure. So keep your words positive and your interactions with others healthy.

Words are powerful tools and as teachers we should always be aware of what we say around our students.

Be Happy, Teach Well

Mathew Green


About Mathew Mathew Green is a husband, teacher, writer and aspiring runner. To Mathew, teaching is more than a career– it’s an opportunity to make a difference in a child’s life, and even a chance to change the trajectory of their future. Mathew created “I’m a New Teacher” to instill a sense of value to the work that teachers do every day, to help new teachers overcome obstacles, and to support teachers in progressing in their careers. Great teachers establish creative and stimulating environments for the world changers of the future. His qualifications include a: Bachelor of Arts, Master of Teaching, Graduate Certificate in TESOL, Certificate IV (Ministry) and he is currently studying a Masters in Educational research. He and his beautiful, talented and funny wife/editor, Aziza Green, live in South Sydney, where they mentor young professionals and university students at their local church. In his free time, he likes to write, laugh and connect with friends and family.

Learn more on Instagram @imanewteacher or online

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