Every day I wake up I make a decision to be as good a man as I can be. I make some mistakes, but I hold my head high as a man of good character. The older I get, the better if feels to do the right thing. I don't lie on my taxes, or cheat on girlfriends. I don't take what isn't mine and I don't ask for things I neither need nor deserve. I always pay my fair share and I treat people with respect. I do all these things, not for any praise, but because this is how we are supposed to act.
Maybe I'm watching too many YouTube videos, but I'm getting convinced I'm the last sane and honorable man in America. I know that great men and women must be out there, but I fear we are wildly outnumbered by people who have no desire to walk a good walk. Well I'll walk a good walk. I'll do so because I have a responsibility to my G-d, my family, and my late father and I will not embarrass any of them.
Additionally, as a public school teacher, i feel a responsibility to act as a role model for our children. Many of our kids live in homes in which parents do not exhibit good character. As teachers, people who stand in front of these kids 5 times a week, we have an opportunity (responsibility) to show them not just mathematics, but how to be young men and women of good character.
Too many of my colleagues have forgotten this responsibility or never realized that it is the biggest part of the job. I'm not talking about saying "bullshit" in class. Heck, my language at times also gets colorful. I'm talking about showing kids that when you go to work, you go to work. You don't sit at your desk and demand others work. You stand and deliver until your feet hurt and your voice is strained. Then you do it again 4 more times that day and every other minute of your week. Then you work even harder the next week. We must show our students what hard work looks like.
We must show our students what it means to come to work prepared. How dare we lambaste our students who don't bring their book to class when we can't be bothered creating a good lesson plan?
Some of my colleagues are amazing hypocrites. They come to work late yet write more tardy referrals than the rest of us. They confiscated cell phones while spending much of their time in class living on theirs. They complain about the performance of their students while not doing anything to better themselves. They expect an hour of homework a night out of the students and then can't be bothered to grade that work in a timely manner.
It is time for teachers to begin holding each other to higher standards. It is time for teachers to risk friendships if it means it might help students. It is time for strong teachers to open their doors and show their colleagues what it means to be a teacher.