As a teacher-in-training, I spend a lot of time thinking about my future in the classroom. I wonder what kind of school I will work in some day and what grade levels I will be assigned. I consider where I'll be living and how that will affect the atmosphere and culture of the school. I imagine what books I will read with my English classes and what homework I will assign. But what I think about the most, is the kids that I will encounter.
There are nights at school that I stay up far later than is probably healthy for me physically, because I'm busy studying for my education courses. It's during those late nights that through it all, my exhaustion and my fatigue, I realize that the only thing that could possibly be motivating me to do what I am doing, is for the future of my students. I've learned a lot in my journey as a teacher in training. By far the most important concept I have grasped as of yet is that I'm not studying this for myself; I'm studying this because I owe it to my future students. It is my responsibility to be the best possible teacher for their classroom. Thus, here is my promise to the students I will meet a few years down the road:
I don't know who you are yet. I don't know what you look like, and I don't know your story. But I promise that regardless of your age, race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, economic status, and background, I will love you fully. You will be treated as the valuable human being that you are, and I will make sure that your significance is understood within my classroom.
No matter what your academic ability may be, I promise to make it my personal responsibility to do everything I can to help you succeed in my class. If you are struggling, I am there to help you.
If you are having difficulties outside of the classroom and you bring that baggage to me, I promise to either do what is appropriate in my ability to help you or refer you to someone who can. When you are my student, your problems matter to me.
When you are doubting your potential and your value, I promise to reiterate it to you. Your self-esteem and confidence as a high school student is molded by society and the media. I will be there to remind you how important you are.
As I finish up my college years, I promise to give it my all for you. Even when I'm tired and distracted, I will study English so that I can teach it to you properly someday. I will study educational theory so that I can be as prepared as possible.
When you're at school, I promise to make my classroom a safe place. I want it to be somewhere that you can come to and focus on your education instead of your fears. Whether you're coming to class or just coming into my room to get away, it will be a place where you don't have to worry about judgment. Come as you are.
When you are talking, I promise to listen to you. Not to just superficially hear the words that you're saying, but to honestly understand what's on your mind.
When I tell you I will have something graded by a certain deadline, I
promise to have it done by that point. I won't be that teacher that lets
you agonize over a test score you haven't received back, just to find
out it won't be available until next week. I will be hard working and
true to my word.
When you don't do well on an assignment or a test, I promise that it will not decrease my opinion of you. School is hard, and life can sometimes get in the way of studying; I understand that. We'll work on that material together and see how we can improve.
These are just a few of the promises I have for my future students, but I could go on forever. The way I see it, I am morally obligated to give them my absolute best. I promise to do just that.