What are the implications of, “morals are caught, not taught”? Simply put, it means talk is cheap and your actions speak louder than your words. It also means people are watching you, even when you do not know they are.
I bought an inexpensive, used motorcycle when I started riding. This motorcycle had a unique paint job that stood out in my small town. I referred to it as the “accountability paint job,” as it meant not only could everyone could see me, they knew it was “Mr. Reed”, “Joseph & Stephens Dad”, or someone who works at their school. There was nowhere to hide. This knowledge forced me to develop good riding habits and to be aware of where I was when I was riding. Speaking to students about how rules exist to promote their safety is thrown out the window if they have seen the teacher speeding through town.
But people see you even when you do not know they are looking. One day I stopped for a soda at a mini-mart just outside of town. As I was paying for my soda, a voice behind me said, “You teach at our school.” I turned around to see two young ladies standing behind me. Not only did I not recognize them, I did not know they were in the store. They did not venture down to the store so they could evaluate if my personal behavior was in line with what I expected of them in class, but they were in a position to do so just the same.
It is good to have moral expectations of your students. In order for those expectations to be communicated effectively, and practiced by your students, they need to see you modeling them as well.