I teach junior high. When I tell people this, I inevitably get the sympathetic “Oh you brave woman” comment. I am not sure why people feel as though this job is so insufferable. I love my job. What I love the most about my job is that I am reminded everyday to live my belief. I believe in personal integrity.
I consider the idea that how you act is a reflection of who you are to be a foundation of life. I take very seriously that I am a role model for my students. For me to ask them to be honest, to act with positive intent and not do it myself is unconscionable. Everyday I ask them why they make the choices they do, why they spend time with the friends they choose, why are they not taking responsibility for their actions, why, why, why. They get a little tired of it. I once asked a student of mine, who was very frustrated with me, what annoyed him the most about me? “You make me think too much,” was his response. I loved that.
What I love most about junior high students is I that I get to participate in the development of the adult these kids will become. I believe in working with families to help kids learn what it means to be a responsible person, a true grownup; something I find lacking in today’s world. I teach kids to pay attention, be aware, appreciate, be responsible as well as how to write a strong persuasive essay. I believe in making them aware of their own personal integrity.
It is important to me to be honest, kind, respectful, and considerate of people around me. I chose to approach my families with professional care. I treat my students with direct honesty. My co-workers receive respect and gratitude. I give open love to my family and friends. I do this because I value these qualities. I do this because I want them in return. What kind of a person would I be if I wanted, nearly demanded, to be treated in this manner and was not willing to give it to others. I would not be living with my personal integrity.
It took me a long time to realize this belief and I am not always successful at its implementation. However, once I chose to act in the manner I was looking for from others, my world opened up. I realized I am an honest and forgiving woman. I recognized the large number of people around me who care and value who I am. I fell in love. I had a daughter.
I live a simple life. I don’t hold any grand illusions of changing the world. I just work to live with this awareness and hope it has an affect on others. My biggest hope is that I can teach my daughter how to live within her own personal integrity. This I believe.
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