Saturday, December 4, 2010

Book Review: A Century of Service - 1860-1960 - A History of the Utah Education Assocation

Ok, I will be honest with you.  I did not "read" page for page this book.  It is a 680-page encyclopedic diary of committee motions, board findings, leadership successions and other minutia that I felt were best left as a reference on the pages of the book than swimming around in my head.  However, among the ocean of detail I did find a few noteworthy things.

Among them, the book extracts from the October 1921 edition of Review, a UEA publication,  in suggesting a "Teacher's Code of Ethics":

1.  The Constitution of the United States gives every man the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.  If we choose to be teachers, we should show by our action that we are happy in our work.
2.  Do not be a grouch; it will show in your work, your face, and your schools.
3.  Make yourself so important to the people with whom you work, that they will feel your absence.  The community you work in should be the best in the country.
4.  Don't content yourself with knocking [criticizing].  You are only ringing your own death knell; for everything you knock out, you should build something better to take it's place.
5.  Join the teachers association, and see that you help make it a factor for good by doing your full duty without complaint, that those who see our good work may help us to better conditions.
6.  Make your work the first consideration all the time.
7.  Remember that the privileges we enjoy have been earned by steady application to work for high ideals.  Do not abuse the privileges we have.  By better work and higher ideals, let us earn greater freedom.  Remember always that increased freedom is always dependent upon greater responsibility.
8.  Demand the standard of punctuality of your students and then be sure that you do all and more than you require of them.
9.  Do not be a gossip carrier.  The best of us sometimes make mistakes.  Help the one who has erred back to a good healthy attitude. 

My how times have changed!  For fun, contrast these words to the legal disclaimer message of today's UEA code of ethics.  Which one inspires you more?

It was refreshing to find this gem in the book.  The "Code" from Review are words we all should live by, regardless of our profession.  How pleasant would our lives be if everyone we knew at work lived by these basic rules?

Finally, here is a departing fun factoid from the book:  In 1875 Utah had 236 School Districts, 458 teachers, 19,278 students, and 65 children per school.

I am grateful to the owner of this rare book who loaned it to me to peruse.

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