We have been told a lot that teachers are held to a higher standard. It is true whether we accept it or not. But, on the other hand, we are people too. We are people that have feelings, lives, families, friendships, and hobbies. We are held to a different standard though and we are unfairly expected to give up some behaviors that are harmless to the average person but frown upon as a teacher.
I will use Alcohol as an example. If you listen to a teacher talk about alcohol, it would be fascinating to hear what they say. Phrases like – “I never buy alcohol in the town I live or teach,” or, “I drive 30 miles to a liquor store,” or, “I never have a beer for dinner, there is too much of a chance that a student or a parent seeing me and telling,” flow freely and often. But why? Why is consuming alcohol deemed an unfavorable behavior for a teacher when it is acceptable for others?
Obviously, everyone knows the answer to that one. It is a behavior that is associated with deviant behavior and lawlessness and a person with no self-control. It is practically a sin and every person that has anything to do with children should be as dry as the desert when it comes to drinking alcohol. It is of the devil!
Well, I disagree. My wife shakes her head at me because I will have a beer for dinner sometimes or I will walk into a liquor store in the town I work to buy a bottle. Sacrilege! Do I have to explain why or if I am right in buying it? No. I don’t have to explain anything. I am a person and a human being and a citizen in this country. I am over 21 and am fully lawfully able to buy alcohol for myself.
And I am bound by the same laws to be responsible with consuming it.
As a teacher, I will add one more caveat to this. I am a role model. I don’t mind and I take that part of my job extremely serious. I feel it is unreasonable to hold a teacher to a standard of not consuming alcohol. It is not right. We are people with more stress than the average person and we need a chance to relax and unwind. We need to be social and be part of our non-school families. On the other hand, we need to model the moderation and behavior of wise consumption of alcohol. Getting inebriated and acting a fool is not good role modeling. Having one brew for a whole dinner and walking out an hour later fully in control of oneself is good to see.
So, when you see a teacher that is out and about, take care to not judge them too harshly. Sometimes it is hard to put your game face on as a teacher. We are people. We have hard lives sometimes just like anyone else. Be empathetic and generous to us with your interaction. We are people and that sometimes is ignored with quick judgment and fast accusations.