I have learned the importance of being earnest at many different times and in varying ways in my life. If you are going to profess a belief, you must stick by it. It is easy to make promises and not keep them, but then it becomes more and more difficult to get others to trust you. A person needs to do what they say they will do. My dad has a little scrap of paper tucked into his keyboard at work that says, “It takes twenty years to build a reputation, and five minutes to ruin it.” While I have not been perfect, I have tried to remember that statement when working with others.
Those words of wisdom have become even more prevalent in my life now that I am studying to be a teacher. If I am going to ask my students to work hard, I better be willing to work hard myself. This is cause for some serious reflection as to what I am willing to do. I do not ever want to expect more of someone else than I expect from myself.
I learned this lesson through the excellent example of a junior high teacher that I assisted during my time in the English Teaching 276R class. I worked in her classroom for three weeks, and it was an incredibly stressful but rewarding experience. Because of the encouragement of my professor, I looked for the little details in this educator’s classroom that I want to use when I teach someday. I noticed a little laminated sign next to her whiteboard that said, “What Ms. S is Reading:” and then, written in erasable marker, a book was listed. I was extremely impressed. This is a teacher that encourages her students to read hundreds of pages a month, and she has them keep a reading log for which she assigns a grade. They even compete against other classes to see who can read the most. That could be considered by many to be a lot to ask of a junior high student, but this teacher showed her students that she was not going to give them a challenge that she would not take herself. I even asked her about the book listed, and she told me about it and a previous novel she had just finished. Through her actions and diligence, she embodied earnestness with her students. She proved that she was willing to do the same tasks that she asked. While not all of our work must be proven, sometimes it is helpful to show students that you are learning right alongside them. I realized I want to be an example like that someday, and not just in my classroom but in all aspects of life.
I want to be true to myself, and follow and live by any advice that I give to others. What are some things that you want to stand by? What are you willing to do that you would then ask of others? I would love to hear your thoughts on earnestness in teaching and in life!