My friend Rhonda likes to quote the Japanese proverb:
Fall down seven times… get up eight.
Believe me, I have rolled down spiral staircases professionally, but yet, it’s best to get up and try again. I’m also the type of person who loves structure and I don’t have a lot of internal perseverance. So, with a giant nod to Hippocrates, here is a tool that helps me get up when I fall–The Teachers Oath. I wrote it knowing how much I fall short. And I wrote it thinking about my wonderful, inspirational colleagues.
The Teachers Oath
(With A Humble Nod to the Hippocratic Oath)
I swear to fulfill to the best of my ability the following professional pledges.
I pledge to respect the hard-won knowledge of those teachers who have taught before me and pass on the very best practices to others.
I pledge to posses subject matter mastery of the courses I teach either through a college degree of academic rigor or supplemental education. I pledge to pass a subject matter exam in grades 7-12, before given a contract to teach the subject.
I pledge to remember that there is art to teaching, and that warmth, sympathy, and understanding may outweigh grades and standardized test scores.
I pledge to present my very best self to students by dressing professionally, having excellent attendance and exercising professional behavior at all times.
I pledge to master the skills of classroom management appropriate to the population I teach.
I pledge to support action to provide teachers a middle class salary that provides room for ample advancement and monetary reward for success and hard work.
I pledge to support action to provide the tools, training, personnel, and competent administrative discipline support that is necessary in the schools.
I pledge to have prepared lessons and be able articulate to parents and students and administrators the purpose of my lessons, every day.
I will remember that I have special obligations to my fellow humans and have the responsibility to teach future generations.
If I do not violate this oath, may I enjoy life and art, respected while I live and remembered with affection thereafter. May I always act so as to preserve the finest traditions of my calling and may I long experience the joy of teaching those who enter my classroom.