Show and Tell


In writing, we want our students to craft pieces that are engaging and paint a picture for the reader, rather than just listing events. With this in mind, we teach our students the phrase “show, don’t tell!”

But as a teacher, you should show and tell. After all, best practices involve modeling and sharing learning targets. You show and tell students what is important for them to learn. This point extends well beyond academics and into social and emotional development. You show and tell your students and coworkers what is important to you through your actions and words every single day.

Your students are listening and learning from your example when you...

thank students and colleagues for the specific things they do for you.
tell them what good qualities they possess.
are honest with your words and appreciate those around you.
share actions with your students that match those words.
model respect for colleagues, resilience under challenging circumstances, and positivity.
share your unique gifts: your time, your humor, and your listening ear.

You are in the spotlight for your students all the time. They are listening to you and watching as you navigate challenges; you can lead them to success. Just by being around you, students are learning much more from you in addition to the critical subject you teach. They are learning how you operate as a thinker and as a leader. Even when you are not “teaching” your subject, you are still teaching your students..

How are your actions and words synchronized? What are you showing and telling your students?

We would love to hear your stories about modeling positive qualities and how you have shared those important lessons with your students. Please send short stories to: for a chance to be featured on the blog.

Carol Harper graduated from the University of Dayton with degrees in Special Education and Spanish. She now works as an independent consultant for Battelle for Kids and is pursuing her Master of Public Administration with a concentration in education policy for The Ohio State University.