Don't worry that your children never listen to you; worry that they are always watching you. - Robert Fulghum
I understand where Fulghum is coming from here. It’s a warning to always practice what you preach – an actions speak louder than words thing.
I tend to look at it a little differently. Rather than worrying, I look at it as a tremendous opportunity to model to my students, and my own children, what being a good citizen looks like.
I understand my reputation for always going for the laugh. I look at it sometimes as an affliction, my need to always be thinking about what the funniest thing to say at any given moment might be. Maybe someday it’ll be given a name and appear in the Clinical Handbook of Psychological Disorders.
And I know that there are times that the filter in my brain that controls all the stupid sh*t from coming out of it malfunctions from time to time. (See previous paragraph)
But I take my position as a model of what is right very seriously. A colleague of mine whose opinion of me matters more to me than any other person with whom I work, has said in the past that even with all of my idiosyncrasies, I’m the most ethical person she knows. That still ranks as one of the top 5 compliments I’ve ever received.
I like to think that my students all concur to some degree. I hope they do. It’s important to me, and not because I’m trying to be liked. [There are other teachers at my school with much more broad popularity than me. They’ve seen to it.]
But I understand that in 5, 10, 20, 30 years, most of my students will probably remember very little of what we learned about Teddy Roosevelt or The Missouri Compromise or U Thant. However, when they’re faced with dilemmas in their life, no matter how big or small – while I don’t expect them to refer to their W.W.M.D. (What Would Mo Do) bracelet – my biggest goal is for the lessons from my room about how to treat people, care about people, be honest, own up to mistakes, make amends, persevere, and pay it forward will serve them well.
Now if we can just figure out how to measure that on a standardized test.