I have a new set of interesting kids as students. As with all my lessons, I always emphasise on spelling and grammar so I encourage my students to often go over their work instead of turning them in hastily. If you ever stop by my lessons, you’ll hear me saying, ‘Did you go over your work? Good. Do that now.’

Today in the middle of a class,  a girl raised her hand to announce that she’d spent minutes scrutinising what I have on the board, but can’t seem to find a single error. ‘Not even a missing word or full stop. You’re really good, Ms Jennifer,’ she said, while looking through her own work to check for errors. I explained to her that I’m not perfect either, but I try hard to be conscious of the things I write, the way I write them and that I often read through the words as I write them to minimise mistakes. Yet, I found it amusing that this child who’s barely eleven considered herself an authority capable of scrutinising and validating my writing.

I teach language and literature which in my school is called English Language Arts. A most common acronym for it is ELA, but every single day, I’d write ‘English Language Arts’ on the board and the kids would ask me, ‘Ms Jennifer, why don’t you just write ELA? It’s shorter’ and I’d respond, ‘why try to shorten the words, when you can write them in full?’

I guess what I’m trying to say is that if teachers expect excellence from students, we must be ready to offer an equally excellent presentation. Sometimes, students learn easier, not by what you say, but by what they see you do. I know a girl who is now keeping a book of daily quotes because I often share my favourite quotes with them.

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