Doing the right thing in the education setting has never been more important than the present. With the “information age” in full force, teachers are challenged every day by what is “new and popular” versus what is “tried and true.” I’m amazed by the things that are “going out of style” these days like this second core classroom value of INTEGRITY.
If you’re reading this as a teacher I understand your pain, or as I student I understand (I’m both). Over the past year I’ve taught science and been a full-time student, which has led me to experience the “pain points.” I’d like to share an illustration from my high school years to encourage you to do the right thing even when no one is looking.
Being a teenager in the 80’s had a lot of cultural requirements for my two sisters and me: pop culture, the two Michaels (Jackson and Jordan), “bangs” (see below), high tops untied, tie-dyed t-shirts, and jeans with zippers! I look back at some of these pictures still laugh out loud!
When I look around our schools today and see some students stepping back into the 80’s with some fashion and musical preferences, it makes me ask why? There was great things about the 80’s that we can pull forward today and I believe one of them is INTEGRITY.
Economically, the 80’s represented a comeback with Reagan’s “trickle-down economics.” Time were difficult for many people and the need to celebrate the small victories. As teachers we need to apply some of these “trickle down” principles and “little victories” into our lesson plans which represent doing things the right way.
In the classroom, students want a teacher who will reward them with recognition for doing right. In one of my recent assignments, two students outlined students’ needs according to William Glasser in a “Cash Cab Video” that was very entertaining. It is worth your time to view this to refine your efforts of moving toward “student-centered” teaching. Students you will enjoy it too!
According to Glasser the “prime student needs” include: survival, belonging, power, fun, and freedom. Addressing these needs reveals the difference between “boss teachers” versus “lead teachers.” I want to be a lead teacher who organizes interesting activities, finds ways for students to assist, identifies student interests, and is non-manipulative. What do you think is the number one question for a teacher to ask?
“What can I do to help you?”
Here are two short stories I hope will help you apply this in your classroom.
In a recent conversation with one of my administrators we discussed the importance of being who you are consistently inside and outside the classroom. My administrator talked about how this core classroom value of INTEGRITY is important to reach students in a positive way to promote learning and apply the things being taught.
My dad is a pillar of INTEGRITY and it has influenced every fiber of who I am as an educator and coach. One time he made a business deal verbally with a buyer in his operation while surveying the product (in this case it happened to be cattle since he is a rancher in Kansas). He gave the buyer his price for the cattle but the next day the price went up significantly. The buyer called back to ask if the price still stood of which my dad said, “Yes, I gave you my word and our relationship is more important than the difference in the price.” I might add this was a significant amount of money! This story has challenged me over the years to weigh my words carefully and to do the right thing. The word INTEGRITY comes from the term “integer” meaning whole. May we as educators seek for our words to count by being whole in what we say and do?
As an educator, I hope to see an INTEGRITY comeback in the classroom just like some of the fashion of the 80’s! Thanks for reading and stay tuned for the #3 core classroom value coming this weekend.
Chris Morland, MS, CSCSThe view, opinions, and judgments expressed in this message are solely those of the author. The message contents have not been reviewed or approved by any other entity.