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The Teaching Profession: How to Be a Role Model

Janelle Cox

A role model is a person who you look up to and aspire to be like. They are someone you learn from and look to for guidance. Anybody can be a role model, but the most influential role models just happen to be teachers. There are many reasons why students think of those in the teaching profession as role models. One of the main reasons is the desire to be looked up to and remembered. We’ve all encountered a great teacher or two in our lifetime who had a great impact on our lives. Whether it was discovering a special subject or learning a life lesson, people in the teaching profession are the ones who help us learn and pave the way for a better future. If you’re thinking about becoming a teacher, then you had better be ready to make a powerful and lasting impression. Here are a few ways those in the teaching profession can be role models for their students.

Educate in the Teaching Profession

First and foremost, a teacher’s role is to educate. You must challenge students to engage their minds and think in new ways. Encourage students’ creativity and innovative thinking. Be knowledgeable and enthusiastic about your craft. When students see you excited, then they will be excited. A great teacher inspires their students to reach their full potential. Every day that you enter the classroom, try your best to make sure your students are on the pathway to success.

Provide Guidance

A role model is an individual who acts as a guide. They’re someone who helps direct the life of another in a positive direction. This is extremely important for young children who feel they have nothing positive going in their lives. After their parents, the next person a child learns from is their teacher. Teachers guide their students throughout adolescence, and help them grow as well as listen to their problems. Elementary school teachers especially are there for a vital point in a child’s social and emotional development. The things a child experiences during this time in their lives will determine much of their behavior later on in their lives. Be an educator that can effectively guide your students through these times, and model how to think through important situations and dilemmas as students encounter them.

Be a Caregiver

Teachers can serve as effective caregivers. You already know how much you love and respect your students, and you of course want to see them succeed in school as well as in life. Build your students’ self-esteem and become somewhat of a surrogate parent during school. Elementary students (especially kindergarteners) have a hard time being away from their parents. Being a caring teacher means you are playing the role of their “Mom” or “Dad” and giving them a Band-Aid when they fall, a hug when they feel sad, or a pat on the back for doing a good job. Above all, just be there for them.

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Mentor and Lead

Teachers serve as mentors, as well as leaders. Research confirms that the presence of a caring adult can help students achieve success at school. Since students spend the majority of their day at school, teachers get the opportunity to really get to know their students on more of a personal level. A mentoring relationship with a student can develop over time in which teachers help inform, advise, and encourage their students.

Teachers also provide leadership for their students. Students learn what a leader is and how to be one by seeing their teacher take charge and successfully lead their classroom. Teachers that are also exceptional leaders are positive, inspirational, and motivate their students to work hard. These are all qualities that students can admire and aim to emulate. Take the time to mentor your students and allow them to watch as you lead the classroom to success.

Instill Character and Moral Virtues

Let’s face it, not all children are learning their moral virtues at home. Despite the fact that many think it’s the parent’s job to teach such characteristics, the reality is that many children do not have parents that are inspiring them to live a life of integrity. The public expects teachers to display behaviors that are reflective of moral virtues. Being fair, kind, and respectful are all positive characteristics that teachers should display. You can’t teach character, unless you can display it. When you interact with your students, you are modeling how one should behave. Children learn through what they see, and when they see a teacher displaying good human qualities, they too will follow.

There are many ways that teachers can be role models for their students, from being on time and fulfilling promises to showing empathy and being positive. Remember, teachers are always be watched so make sure that you are being a role model that students want to emulate.

In what ways do you think those in the teaching profession are role models? Share with us in the comment section below, we’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic. 


Janelle Cox is an education writer who uses her experience and knowledge to provide creative and original writing in the field of education. Janelle holds Masters of Science in Education from the State University of New York College at Buffalo. She is a contributing writer to TeachHUB.com, TeachHUB Magazine, and Hey Teach. She was also the Elementary Education Expert for About.com for five years. You can follow her on Twitter @empoweringed, on Facebook at Empowering K12 Educators, or contact her at Janellecox78@yahoo.com.