Today, I was reminded of a Back-to-School Letter I sent to staff in 2015. I rewrote the modern version of the medical profession’s Hippocratic Oath, adapted from Louis Lasagna, Academic Dean of the School of Medicine at Tufts University, 1964 (www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/body/hippocratic-oath-today), so that it might apply to our profession. Perhaps it will provide a grounding context for an educator today. I called it...
The Educator Oath
I swear to fulfill, to the best of my ability and judgment, this covenant:
·I will respect the hard-won scientific gains of those physicians EDUCATORS in whose steps I walk, and gladly share such knowledge as is mine with those who are to follow.
·I will apply, for the benefit of the sick STUDENTS, all measures which are required, avoiding those twin traps of overtreatmentUNDER FUNDING and therapeutic nihilism OVER TESTING.
·I will remember that there is art to medicineTEACHING as well as science, and that warmth, sympathy, and understanding may outweigh the surgeon's knife PEDAGOGICAL SKILL or the chemist's drug CONTENT KNOWLEDGE.
·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 for a patient's recovery STUDENT’S SUCCESS.
·I will respect the privacy of my patientsSTUDENTS for their problems are not disclosed to me that the world may know.
·Most especially must I tread with care in matters of life and death DREAMS AND AMBITIONS. If it is given me to save a life PROTECT A DREAM all thanks. But it may also be within my power to take a life DESTROY A DREAM; this awesome responsibility must be faced with great humbleness and awareness of my own frailty.
·Above all, I must not play at God. I will remember that I do not treat a fever chart, FAILING REPORT CARD or a cancerous growth AN SGP; but a sick human being VULNERABLE CHILD OR TEMPERAMENTAL ADOLESCENT whose illness EDUCATION may affect the person's family and economic stability. My responsibility includes these related problems, if I am to care adequately for the sick STUDENT.
·I will prevent disease FAILURE whenever I can, for prevention is preferable to cure REMEDIATION.
·I will remember that I remain a member of society, with special obligations to all my fellow human beings, those of sound mind and body STRENGTH AND ADVANTAGE as well as the infirm LESS PRIVILEGED AND UNDERSERVED.
·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 healingTEACHING those who seek my help.
Teresa Sullivan, Ph.D., 2023 ~ www.edleaderu.com