Dictionary.com defines it as: that may be relied on; dependable in achievement, accuracy, honesty, etc.
The possession and application of this trait is subtle. While subconsciously expected from other people and items, individuals rarely find themselves giving a lot of thought to their own reliability. For example:
· They are either on time or not.
· Students either complete the assignment or they don’t.
· I either finish that paperwork or it waits until tomorrow.
Question: How often, when faced with a similar situation as above stop and think; am I being reliable? Would the second it takes to do so change your behavior?
Now think about students. They expect everyone around them to be reliable. This gives students a sense of security found in the routine of someone always being there for them. If you think about how hard change and a feeling of not being connected is for adults (and we all know it is), imagine that feeling for many of those younger than us. This is not a bad thing, but its value could increase with a little insight.
We all need to raise students’ awareness of their reliability and how that affects their academic and personal success. For example:
· How many times have students failed to hand in work on time even after they said they would?
· How often have they promised to do a chore that went unfinished?
Would this be different if we as educators (parents, teachers, administrators, et.) taught students to take that second and think: am I being a reliable person right now? Does it matter? It is very easy to get caught in the trap of complaining about others actions (or lack thereof), but have we done anything to change the situation? More importantly, should we complain about another person’s reliability before looking at our own? Being able to model and use our own behavior as an example makes change much easier to teach and expect.
Students expect people to help them achieve, be honest, dependable, and reliable. The first question is are we? The second question is; are we teaching them to be in return? As they grow older, students must bring more to the “table” and understand the life lesson of give and take. If they are to exist in an atmosphere that collectively offers success and safety, they must contribute to those very things by being reliable individuals.
Explain it to them this way. Reliability is the foundation of trust and who doesn’t want to be trusted?