WARNING: This post has the potential to ruffle a few feathers. To put a bee in a few bonnets. To get your dander up.
Whoa. I apologize for…whatever that was.
What I mean is this: I have been thinking about something lately that I want to tell you about (or preach to you about). This particular message has the potential to piss you off at first. But, please keep an open mind and read on with real objectivity. Try to consider what I’m saying. I think I’m really on to something here.
Let me pose a question to you first. What if you were just a teacher? You are just a teacher, you say? I disagree! You are a coach. You are a club leader. You are a team member. But, for those of you that don’t fit into any of these categories, for those that simply teach and call it a day…are you really doing everything you can to be the role model your students deserve?
Ok, let’s break this down a bit. As teachers we are at the front lines when it comes to educating today’s youth to be tomorrow’s adults. We are the people that have arguably the most influence on the direction of society as we know it. I am starting to think that we have a responsibility to our global society to not only teach our asses off (like we do day in and day out), but also to be exemplary role models as democratic citizens. (Side note: Democratic as in the ideal system, not the political party. Sorry, had to clarify.)
All I’m saying is this: We should never expect our students to simply come to school, absorb information, and call it a day. We should always expect our students to go above and beyond in the pursuit of achieving greatness as a democratic citizen. We need to be conscious of our ability to influence the current generation to become the future adults we need and deserve as a global society. We need to step it up if we expect our students to reach the potential we see in them every day.
What can you do as a teacher? Step out of the role of strictly the teacher! Get involved in organizations that promote democratic ideals. Promote community service (particularly when it is tied to learning in the classroom…but, that is a post for a different day). Lead students in programs and clubs that help those around them. Join and become active in your local and not-so-local teacher organization (NEA, I’m lookin’ at you!).
I’m so sorry for this, but all that was not actually the point of this post. My point is actually what you get out of all of this. Let me explain.
I am currently at the Summer Leaders Conference for the North Carolina Education Association. Yeah, I know, I’m a total nerd for volunteering to come to a conference like this in the middle of summer. But, I’m getting so much out of it. I’m not going to bore you with the details, but the take home is this: I feel as if the power I’ve always known I have had is being liberated by being around other educators that care about our world and our profession. I cannot tell you how happy this is making me, to be involved in something I value.
And, that’s just me! You value something else! So, long story short: Get involved. If you simply teach, you will burn out. But, if you teach and are involved in other activities and programs you love, you’ll love teaching even more.
I’m smiling just thinking about how much you’ll be smiling.