When I was in high school, I volunteered at a program called Read and Feed where I tutored two 2nd grade students who were struggling in school. Both students came from low income, non-English speaking homes. When I first began working with these two students, they were shy, unresponsive, and unconfident in their ability. I tutored them for a year, helping with their language and reading comprehension. At the end of the year, I noticed an amazing difference. Not only were they doing significantly better in school, but their improved English had allowed them to socialize and make friends, and they became much more outgoing and confident. Seeing the change I made in their lives made me realize I wanted to be a teacher. I have always loved learning, but working with those two students made me realize the ability I had to positively affect someone else’s life. When children are young they are naturally curious and impressionable and I believe, as a teacher, I can have the most impact during those elementary years.
I believe integrity is the adherence to a moral principle for the reason of morality itself. Essentially, this means integrity is always making the right choices in spite of any possible reward—choosing the right action simply because it is right. As a teacher, having integrity means making the best decisions for the sake of the students.
Integrity manifests itself in many ways in the character of a teacher. First, integrity is shown by the effort a teacher gives to his or her students. I believe teachers have a moral obligation to their students to provide them with the best educational opportunities possible. As I have learned from working in classrooms, providing students with that high level of education is exceedingly difficult. However, a teacher with integrity puts forth every effort and works tirelessly to ensure the students are being given the best education possible. For example, this could mean working with students outside of the classroom even if there is no compensation, contributing personal resources to the classroom, or even forsaking sleep to work on lesson plans. Although it may not always be easy, I plan to always do what I believe is best for the students, despite what it costs me.
Integrity also manifests itself in respectfulness. Respect is one of the most essential ideals within a classroom. As a teacher, I must respect my students, and they must respect me in return. Clark (2003) gives examples of ways in which students can display respect; for example, “making eye contact … always say thank you … never cut in line … a mutual appreciation for all opinions”, etc. (p. 2-24) Further, I think it is essential for a teacher to have the respect of his or her students. One way I plan on having the respect of my students is by showing them respect myself. Respect towards students can be listening to the students, giving credit to their ideas, or even holding high expectations. By respecting a...