"We should tolerate flaws in other people in the vain hope that they will tolerate our flaws." — I don’t remember who first told me that, but it made a ton of sense to me.
One of the things that never seems to amaze me is when I talk to teachers and hear them talk about holding students to standards of behavior and work that they would never hold themselves. Ask yourself, in your school, does the teachers with the most draconian lateness policy often show up late to meetings? Does the teacher who makes a big deal about food in the classroom often leave trash all over the faculty room? Do the teachers who have the strictest policies often resist any administrative policies? And how many of us have made it through an hour-long PD session without passing a note or sending an email or daydreaming? And yet, so many schools expect kids to do so five, six, seven times a day. (And how many people — aside from teachers — go home from work and then work another three hours at home? And yet, we expect kids to do that every day…)
One of the things I love about SLA is that we try to remember everyone’s humanity — teachers and students. We talk about the things that frustrate us… students handing in stuff late being top of the list for many of us, but when we do, we try to remember how many deadlines we miss ourselves. Remembering the shared humanity of everyone in the building can really lead to putting in place policies that are humane. We must expect our students to work hard, we must expect our students to learn to make deadlines — we must set the bar as high for our students as we set it for ourselves, but we must also remember to set up structures that help students when, inevitably, they sometimes miss the bar. We should do so if for no other reason than we hope someone does that for us when we fail.