Building off of my previous post, The Educator’s Hippocratic Oath, I thought I would write my own personal educator’s oath. I’m considering including it with my course syllabus this year. It will be a work in progress, so don’t be surprised if it changes from time to time.
Without further ado, here it goes:
I will never forget that my job is to educate young people to the best of my abilities. This means facilitating their growth and learning. This means helping them to become the best version of themselves that they can be. This means never placing limits on their learning.
I will get to know all of my students personally and treat each as a unique individual. My classroom will be a democratic and student-centered learning environment in which students are treated fairly, not equally. I will provide students with ample opportunities for genuine, meaningful choices and for collaboration with peers and mentors.
Students in my classroom will have the opportunity to inquire, to think, and to create. I will let students form their own opinions, beliefs and conclusions. When I challenge those conclusions, I will do so respectfully. I will not indoctrinate my students. Education is something I do WITH my students, not to them.
The focus of my classroom will be learning, not doing. My students will engage in relevant real-world learning. I will not allow a book, curriculum, test, or standard to be the sole determinant of what my students are able to learn.
I will strive to facilitate growth in each of my students each day. I will strive to help each student to discover his or her passion and talents and will nurture those traits within them. I will advocate for my students whenever possible and do my best to protect them from the vagaries of the educational system.
The purpose of assessment is to provide students with information, not judgement. I am not the sole purveyor of knowledge in my classroom and will not behave as such. I will never reduce students to a number or a letter, even if I must issue them grades to satisfy district policies.
I will display my humanity to my students without taking out my personal frustrations on them and will apologize to my students when I inevitably make mistakes. I will treat my students and their families with respect, honesty, and humility. I will listen to my students and honor their feedback.
I will never cease to learn and grow as an educator and will humbly share my learning with my fellow educators to help improve their practice and mine. I acknowledge that my knowledge and skill are built upon that which I have gained from others. I will not stand for the status quo and will advocate for policies and practices that will truly benefit students.
I recognize that I have learned through experimentation and failure and that I have, at times, failed my students. I will always be a reflective educator, learning from mistakes. I will never consider myself or my curriculum to be a “finished product.” There is always room for improvement.
I will cherish every day, every moment that I am able to spend in the classroom working with students. Each day is a gift; each student a treasure. I have the greatest job in the world.
As much as I love my job and believe in its importance, I will keep it in perspective. My job is not more important than my faith, my family or my health. I cannot change the world by myself. I cannot “save” every student. All I can do is be myself and show genuine care for students.
I challenge each of you to write your own educator’s oath. Forever consider it to be a work in progress. Revise it often. Throw it away and start over. As you evolve, it should too.
If you are so inspired, please share your oath in the comments below for others to read.