Education graduate Jordan White said he was thinking of two teachers who inspired him as he repeated "The Teachers' Oath" on Dec. 17 at Pittsburg State University. White and other winter graduates of PSU's teacher education program took the oath as they prepared for 2010 winter commencement.
White, who received a bachelor of science degree in music education, said he was thinking of the example set by Carl Junction, Mo., music teachers Ryan Churchill and Kathi Cassady. In them, White said, he saw a model of the kind of teacher he hopes to be.
"Music has always been a huge part of my life," White said. "I want to be able to share the passion I have for music with students."
The oath, which PSU education majors take as they prepare to graduate, has been around for just a few semesters, according to Dean of Education Howard Smith. He and previous dean Andy Tompkins modeled PSU's oath on one created by a school principal.
"Teaching is a profession," Smith said. "Other professions have oaths that express the ideals and standards that their members live by. It seems important that teaching should have one, too. The oath our teachers now take is a written and verbal expression of the values educators have long held."
White said taking the oath was a meaningful experience.
"I definitely will hang that up in my office where I can see it every day," he said.
The PSU Teachers' Oath:
I swear to fulfill, to the best of my ability and judgment, this covenant:
I will respect the hard-won gains of those educators in whose steps I walk, and gladly share such knowledge as is mine with those who are to follow.
I will apply, for the benefit of my students, all strategies known to be effective, avoiding busy-work in favor of work with real meaning to the students and their families.
I will remember that there is art to teaching as well as science, and that warmth, sympathy, and understanding may outweigh the textbook reading or the multiple choice test.
I will work with my colleagues to inspire one another to achieve excellence.
I will not be ashamed to say "I know not," nor will I fail to call in my colleague when the skills of another are needed to help my students.
If it is given to me to enhance a life through teaching, all thanks. But it may also be within my power to cast a shadow over a life; this awesome responsibility must be faced with great humbleness and awareness of my own frailty.
I will remember that I do not teach a lesson plan, or a reading deficiency, but a human being, whose skills may affect the person's future family and economic stability. My efforts will aim to teach the whole child, and help that child develop in mind and spirit.
May I always act so as to preserve the finest traditions of my calling and may I long experience the joy of teaching those who seek my help.
I will be a competent, committed, caring professional throughout my career.