Teachers’ words and doings affect children for a lifetime… Just like doctors have to undertake the Hippocratic Oath to uphold high ethical standards, I believe that teachers should take a “Socrates Oath” to promise to honor and respect the uniqueness of children, nurture and care for each and every pupil in their care throughout their career.
The Education world busies itself with pedagogical techniques and strategies, a myriad of “Best Practices” and theories about literacy and numeracy… And, although these are extremely important, they are not and should not be the focal point of Education and “Educationists” discussions…. We should rather discuss the reasons why so many kids are failing, dropping out of school, feeling depressed after a day at school.
Could it be our archaic bureaucratic uniforming educational system that leaves no rooms for students to be gifted for other matters than literacy, science and math? Could it be us, educators, who expect our students to comply to our systems and leave no room for originality and human weakness? Could it be a bit of both?
Strangely, although teachers affect thousands of lives, a universal teacher’s Code of Honor has not been yet put in place to ensure all teachers understand that their main task is to care, encourage and transmit the love of learning passion to future generations… Teaching by no means should equal taming and the transmission of knowledge and submission, it should on the opposite encompass the vital human survival function of nurturing creativity and dreaming big, inspiring and encouraging young souls in their quest for their own Truths and Realities.
Teachers hence need to be passionate about teaching, but also caring and most importantly humble; humble in their knowledge that they do not possess the absolute knowledge or truth, that their pupils will one day surpass them, make the world a better place, and actually care for them in their old age.
Once these realities are acknowledged, I believe teachers will then agree that negativity, the use and abuse of power and sarcasm have no place in our classrooms… Our classroom should be on the contrary a sanctuary for children to blossom and grow in an atmosphere of safety and full acceptance.
And that, I believe, is the Oath that every teacher should commit to before going into a classroom: Caring, respecting, accepting each and every child in their care.