Sunday, February 5, 2012

The Golden Rule

The Golden Rule

Much has been written on ethics for business and education. All educators are held to a higher standard (and rightfully so) because we touch the next generation. My favorite book on ethics is by John Maxwell, “There’s No Such Thing as Business Ethics.”  His subtitle is, “There’s Only One Rule For Making Decisions.” That rule is the Golden Rule. What if we could take that simple, yet profound concept and apply it to our schools?

The Golden Rule has roots in all cultures and religions. Jesus said, “Do to others as you would have them do to you.” This ethic of reciprocity covers all human relations in the classroom. If we could use a video camera to record everything we said and did in the classroom and then watch ourselves, what would we see?  Would we be a teacher, administrators or paraprofessional who chooses their words with care? Would we see acts of goodness, kindness and gentleness? The spirit is willing, but unfortunately, the flesh is weak. Replaying a video recording of our lessons is often an eye-opener. Have you ever recorded yourself teaching? Most of us avoid it because we don’t like the way we look or don’t like the sound of our own voice, but I challenge you to videotape part of your day for two reasons.  One, professionally, video recording (with permission from the students and parents) is the best self-evaluative tool for reflective improvement. What we think we are getting across is often not as clear when we look at our video recording and see ourselves as our students see us. This is particularly true when we are very good at our subject because we forget that the material is brand new to those receiving it.  Two, and most importantly, I would like to challenge you to record yourself (even if it’s just the audio) to listen for the Golden Rule.

As Christian educators in the classroom, the Golden Rule helps us define our worldview. If we are going to “do to others as you would have them do to you,” the 9 fruits of the Spirit will mold everything we say. Did our words display love, joy, peace, goodness, gentleness, kindness, patience, self-control and faithfulness? Did the replay of our recording exhibit acts of kindness that we would love others to do for us? Are we treating our unlovable students as fearfully and wonderfully made like we are? It’s not easy, but it’s the right thing to do. As you consider this challenge to record yourself, please know that I fall far short of being a 16-9 educator, but it is my desire, with the Lord’s help to exemplify His ways and His steps each day I walk into a school.

Find a dear Christian friend and discuss this challenge. Make a commitment to coach each other through the process of being a better teacher by focusing first on the Golden Rule. Record and share your lessons with the lens of “iron sharpens iron” and this will be the most valuable PLC (Professional Learning Community) you form.  Not only are we held to a higher standard because we are an educator, but as Christian educators we are held to the highest standards, those of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  The best news is that we have His help.

Prayerfully yours,

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