One of the most important responsibilities inherent in the title “teacher” is that of being a good role model for all students. Every person a student sees is some kind of a role model. Some are good. Some are not. It is the DUTY of every teacher to be the very best role model that one can be.
Children come from so many different backgrounds, each with different types of families, a different sense of work ethic, different sense of fashion, different everything. This makes it difficult for anyone to be the perfect role model for every student. There are, however, several characteristics we would all hope that our children see in all of their teachers both in school and out.
Teachers must provide positive role modeling in these areas:
1. Attitudinal. Teachers should maintain and demonstrate a positive attitude about themselves, their colleagues, their school, their profession, their community, their students, etc; and they must help others show positive attitudes as well. Teachers must be self-esteem builders. I don’t mean that they just make children feel good about themselves. I mean that they are able to convey to every child the belief that the child is capable of learning and that they want to be the child’s partner in that goal. Teachers must always convey a heart-felt interest in every student and the belief that every student is special.
2. Physical. Ideally, teachers should be role models of healthy living–eating right, maintaining a healthy weight, exercising, and having no health-risky behaviors. Teachers should also dress and behave in a professional manner at all times.
3. Social. Teachers never know when a parent and/or a student is watching. Thus, appropriate behavior in social situations is always a must. A teacher can never be too polite. Parents do not want to hear bad language coming from their child’s teacher; and they especially do not want to see a teacher drunk.
4. Moral. While technically, your person life is your own business, teachers are held to a higher standard. Teachers must guard that the things they say and do would be considered appropriate by parents when viewed on the Internet. One moment of poor judgement can cost you your job.
5. Educational. Teachers should always demonstrate a love of their subject and have the ability to teach it with enthusiasm. They should always model the behaviors they expect of their students–being on time, being prepared, not saying negative things about others, etc. Teachers should also model and encourage the concept of being a life-long learner. For the here and now, teachers must be available to help students whenever possible and they need to be generous with their time in helping with school events.
6. Ethical. Teachers must be the perfect role models of honesty and integrity; and they must treat every student with dignity, respect, and fairness.
Teachers must always remember that a student’s memory of one bad teacher or even one bad experience can wipe out the memories of many good teachers.