Public schools have been made out to be the both the scapegoat for society’s ills and the salvation of future national prosperity and security. As a result, educators are faced with the task of meeting expectations from a variety of oftentimes competing factions including: political, societal, cultural, and business interests. As a public institution, schools must respond to and meet these various challenges. The role of an educator is to prepare students to meet and exceed these expectations.
Historically, in middle-eastern cultures, it was not an unusual practice for a servant to clean the feet of guests as they entered the home. This was expected of a servant. If educators are to meet society’s expectations, we must be willing to serve. Everything we do in education is about serving. We serve our students as well as their families. We serve our communities needs as well as the needs of our nation as we prepare our students to meet the demands of a society that is increasingly complex. Our educational preparation, our sacrifice, is but for one purpose: to teach. To teach is to be a servant.
We serve by being responsive to the needs of students and their families on all levels. A servant is not concerned with their own wellbeing, only in the wellbeing of those they serve. We must therefore serve our students by preparing them to think and problem solve, while providing an environment that is safe and nurturing. Public education can meet and exceed society’s expectations only by meeting students’ needs as defined by both students and the community at large.