Thursday, November 7, 2013

Being a Teacher is #hashtag

A large portion of the time we spend is dedicated to learning how to teach. There are methods and strategies and practices to be deployed. I took a few minutes today to think about how to be a teacher. Being a teacher is being a professional optimist. It is seeing the best in people. It is seeing the potential in our students. No matter how difficult they make it, we always want to be looking toward what they could do. Being a professional optimist means seeing the best out of every bad situation. Every failure is a learning experience. Every wrong answer has a bit of truth that we can build around. Every time we get knocked down is an opportunity to practice picking ourselves back up. 


  1. I like your positive outlook, Greg. I agree. Do you get the sense that may "professionals" find the burden too much to bear, at times? It seems to me that some, but certainly not all, find themselves buried in piles of paperwork. They are buried in reams of paper, which keep piling up every class-hour. Consequently, they lose sight of the joys of teaching: connecting the 4 overlapping and interacting dimensions of classroom life (think of the Reading Apprenticeship). I just wonder how they are able to "put on a smile" in front of the students when, from the outside, they hate the workload that comes along with being a teacher. Is there any way to strike a balance between formative/summative assessments and spending more time talking with (rather than to) the students?

  2. I am sometimes worried about the paperwork. I wrote in my RWT about the process of taking attendance. Hopefully, we are learning things in our methods classes and seminar that will make us more efficient, either when it comes to passing out papers or initiating a class. That way, we can avoid being overwhelmed by the things we are 'required' to do.
    One more important thing is to not lose track of time. We have, roughly speaking, 180 days with our students. Everyday is valuable, but that does mean that everyday needs to busy. It becomes about designing activities where we can engage the students in normal conversation. If we make sure to end class early, so that we have two or three minutes to check in on students' cheerleading competitions or talk about the chess club (or whatever interests the students), it is just a matter of making sure that we build the relationships with students so that we can make the best use of time, at a later date, to get them engaged in disciplinary content.