A quick web search for the definition of dignity… “bearing, conduct, or speech indicative of self-respect or appreciation of the formality or gravity of an occasion or situation.”

I like the part “… appreciation of the gravity of a situation.”

My questions for you today are:

“Does your job as a teacher reflect the dignity it should?” and “Do we understand the gravity of what a teacher should be?”


A few weeks ago, I alluded to the notion that I believe too many teachers downplay that teaching is a privilege, and not everyone can or wants to do it.  Many people say they have respect for teachers and they are probably sincere.  However, teaching has to be a profession that represents your self-respect.

How does that look?

Having dignity as a teacher shows…

An endless opportunity to give.

Every teacher should teach with a goal of helping others in mind. Teachers are part of a solution that has the opportunity to improve society.  I am sure that other professions can have that type of empowerment, but teaching has to be at the top of the list.

Doing what is right.

When we do what is right, we often have to forgo what is easy.  Do we teach the “right way?” Do we teach the children that walk into the classrooms the same way we teach our children at home? If we ever take the time to see the students we teach as our own; teaching and learning will take on a whole new level.

Changing the way we look at others.

Understand this: it is not about YOU.  When we realize this, our ability to listen to and learn from others enables us to be better. When it is about ourselves, we miss the opportunity to treat others with respect.  If you can ever have an appreciation of your dignity, then you can begin to have an appreciation of others.

No one can give you dignity. There is not a “dignity” line to stand in.  It is one of the few characteristics that we must go out and get for ourselves.  As teachers (and leaders for that matter), our dignity reveals so much about us.  Let others see that we take pride in what we do, that we have self-respect, and accept the gravity of the situation of educating the future.

We might not always see the light at the end of the tunnel, but that does not mean we don’t use our flashlights or light candles to help shine the way until we do.


©2018 J Clay Norton

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