Are we honest with ourselves?

Are we honest with ourselves when we look into the mirror?

In my 13 years in education, I have yet to hear an educator say anything different: I am all about kids. Kids are my number one priority. I will do whatever it takes for kids. Although we all say the words, sometimes our actions say something different. Sometimes our actions say, “I’ll do whatever it takes for kids…except THAT!”

What are our exceptions? This post is not meant to offend, but to elicit candid reflection of our daily practice. Do our actions support our words? When they don’t, some examples are:

I will do whatever it takes for kids–except…

  • work with THAT parent after that nasty email she sent me
  • collaborate with THAT teacher after what I heard she said about me
  • extend out of my comfort zone
  • incorporate technology into student learning in my classroom
  • implement an IEP modification or 504 accommodation I don’t agree with
  • voice my opinion if it goes against the opinion of the small–but loud–negative group
  • recognize and support social emotional learning
  • hold my team members accountable
  • have a difficult conversation
  • treat all kids fairly (as opposed to equally)
  • say sorry to a student
  • tell a parent I was wrong
  • ask for help
  • share the successes taking place in my classroom
  • differentiate for the abilities and readiness levels in my classroom
  • utilize data as a factor to inform decision-making
  • co-teach
  • share “my” classroom with other sections during my prep and lunch periods
  • teach THAT class
  • switch classrooms or teams next year
  • thank HIM
  • give HER credit
  • candidly reflect on my daily practice and make necessary revisions

We can begin as cautiously as setting personal goals to put a dent in the way our sentences end, or as ambitiously as completely terminating the exceptions at the end of our sentences. Either way, we must have the courage to look ourselves in the mirror and accurately identify how our sentences end, and the professional dignity to do something about it.

About Sam LeDeaux

Administrator. Teacher. Learner. Coach. Chicago metro area. Passionate about kids, learning, and education. Follow me on twitter @sledeaux84 and at

2 responses »

  1. Robin says:

    I can relate to that picture of the cat seeing himself as a lion. I must say, I have to reflect on my own motives sometimes, so I frequently ask coworkers how I am doing, how do they see me. It really helps me stay on track. I have been in the classroom on a daily basis and I know it is easy to let some of the things you mentioned block main focus – the youth.
    One thing that helps me is to remember to not take things personally. Whether it is criticism from a parent or coworker, it should not affect my attitude toward them. But I think the hardest issue for me to address, would be related to my responsibility to speak up, as you mentioned. So that gives me something to work on.

    Thank you for your post and good luck in the coming school year! (Although, I live in Florida now, I grew up in Chicago)


    • Sam LeDeaux says:

      Hi Robin,

      Sorry for the late response, somehow I missed this. Good for you for soliciting feedback! That takes courage, as well as strong relationships of respect to obtain valuable feedback. I’m interested to hear how your focus to speak up has come along this year.

      Thank you for the read!


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