Upon their entry into the practice of medicine, doctors take an oath dating back to Hippocrates that has guided their service through the centuries. As I was completing my Masters work and reading the works of Dewey, Vygotksy, Coelho and other educational thinkers, I began to wonder what an educational, or pedagogic oath might look like. Here was what I believed to be the essential components of education. What would your pedagogic oath look like?
A Pedagogic Oath
I swear to fulfill, to the best of my ability and judgment, this covenant:
of those teachers in whose steps I walk, and gladly share such knowledge as is mine with those who are to
I will apply, for the benefit of children, all teaching methodologies that are required, avoiding those twin traps of personal bias and judgement.
I will remember that there is art to teaching as well as science, and that warmth, sympathy, and understanding may outweigh standard testing or ranking systems.
I will not be ashamed to say “I know not,” nor will I fail to call in my colleagues when the skills of another are needed to support student learning.
I will respect the privacy of my students, for their learning needs are not disclosed to me that the world may know. Most especially must I tread with care in matters of assessed learning or grades. If it is my honor to facilitate great learning, all thanks. But it may also be within my power to harm a student’s self-esteem and self-value; this awesome responsibility must be faced with great humbleness and awareness of my own inconsistencies.
I will remember that I do not teach a curriculum, a concept or an idea, I teach a human being, whose learning is linked to and affected by their community and experience, and that learning in our classroom may affect the student’s family, economic future and connection to society. My responsibility includes these re- lated areas, if I am to teach adequately any student.
I will create inquiry whenever I can, for curiosity is preferable to drill or rote learning.
I will remember that I remain a member of society, with special obligations to all my fellow human beings, those of higher education as well as those with more practical learning.
If I do not violate this oath, may I enjoy life and art, respected while I live and remembered with affection thereafter. May I always act so as to preserve the finest traditions of my calling and may I long experience the joy of teaching those who seek my help.
Leave a comment with your thoughts. If you like the oath and you would like a more polished PDF version, head over to my resources page to download a copy. If you are willing to take the oath, grab this badge for your site:
Simply copy the following code into the HTML on your website or blog:
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…and yes, that is Dewey’s moustache.