I ask the same question daily.

One of our sixth grade teachers has a t-shirt that says something about this and we’ve all pretty much made this our mantra for finishing out the year.

Why you might ask?

Because our students need to hear this. Again and again.

It’s not ok to make fun of someone’s look.

It’s not ok to bully someone based on who they might like.

It’s not ok to say things about a person because they make turn their work in on time, they make the effect needed to be successful, or they ask questions.

It’s not ok to lay hands on someone, for any reason.

One of the many reasons I’ve come home defeated and questioning if I can continue in this profession is the way the students react to that conversation about character. We’ve talked character, role played character, wrote about character, and it’s made so little difference. I know, I am my own worst critic and that for some, it does make a difference, but this year it didn’t move the needle like I really needed it to.

So what now?

We rest.

We recover.

We learn our own boundaries for what we are willing to do for our classes, our schools, and our communities. This Covid year has taught me much about myself and what I need to do going forward, as a good human.

We need to create relationships, period. It’s been said how many different times, but if you don’t have a relationship built with a student when times are good, you’ll get nothing when times are tough. The whole “they don’t care what you know until they know you care” idea. Sometimes I wonder, am I the right guy for our character education lessons? Would someone be better suited to do this because maybe I’m not “the relationship” guy anymore?

We need to continue to push our students to be good humans. Call them out on behaviors that are not acceptable, on those things they know are not right, then teach them what IS the right thing.

My wife is done with students tomorrow. Myself, on Friday. We need this break like no other. We are planning on building a wall around our acreage and teaching online.


Ok, maybe not, but we will be changing scenery, traveling around Iowa and the country. We need to heal, to grow back together as teachers and a couple.

But most of all, we just need a break.

To the teachers out there, please take this summer to heal yourselves. Whether you felt supported by your state and local district or not, we’ve been hurt and need time to recover. Please, take that time.

Be good humans. We need more of this behavior. Our students, our families, our communities need us to model this because they aren’t seeing it from others.

Thank you for reading today. This one got a little long winded and stumbled around a bit.

I appreciate it. 🙂