Teachers Are Role Models

“I want to eat healthier, Miss,” my student said. “I eat too much fast food.”


“Go to the farmer’s market, or to the store. Don’t buy Pop Tarts.” Our farmer’s markets aren’t what they used to be. They used to be a few stalls with carrots and broccoli. Now, they’re everything from the basic organic foods to things that’d keep a foodie busy for a month.

“I don’t know what to buy.” She needed ideas.

“Asparagus is in season–”

“No! That’s gross. It’s slimy.”

“Only if it’s canned,” I told her. “Cooked it fresh with some garlic and…”

“No!” This was going to be a tough sell.

“How about some green beans with–”

“Eewww…I don’t eat green beans.” A crowd was gathering to see who would win The Battle of the Veggies. I’d need to think quick and come up with a good suggestion. I never lose.

“Oh, I got one,” I said. “How about some Doritos with a side of french fries?”

Game, point, match. Victory for me.

“Healthy living is a lifestyle,” I told the group forming. “It’s not because I live in the forest. I used to live under the airport. I choose to be this way.”

I choose to be this way…Teachers are role models.


Teachers, like famous athletes or rock stars, don’t sign on to be role models. We sign up to teach. Role model is the default, though. People get nervous about this. I’ve known many teachers who lived well outside their teaching communities so they could “have some space.” Now that we’re digital, the line between public and private has blurred further.

I think of all the teachers I looked up to–in some cases venerated. As an adult, I know no person’s a saint. I know some of my teachers probably used the “f” word in their lifetime and weren’t immune to a tirade or a social gathering of the Roman style once in a while.

Read More…

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