Sunday, April 20, 2014

What do I do?

What do I do?

I love teaching, but what I do changes all the time for variety of reasons, but my title has never changed. What does this mean?

People ask me what I do, and I am a teacher.

Does it really matter what I teach? Or who I teach?

I love kids, teenagers to be specific. They are so definite and so open at the same time. Many of my students see the world in very black and white, but they are open to the discussion and confusion that leads to growth that many adults are not able to accomplish.

And what I teach...well .... It is literature in the sense it is introductory and I love opening their eyes to reading deeper and seeing more in the text. And I'm okay with the fight to get them to just read the darn thing already! I almost find pleasure in that fight, because if I can make it interesting and engaging in the way I approach it, then I typically win.

But I also love technology, and sharing it with other teachers. This means I present at conferences, and share with colleagues close to me whenever I can. I love helping teachers find new ways to teach and engage students. So many teachers just don't know where to start, and my philosophy is that the place to start is where you are at. Take the curriculum you already have, the lessons you have already developed, and see what ways technology integration can give them an edge. It is not about starting over, starting from scratch. So many creative teachers out there, so many amazing lessons, technology can just give it that boost. Like a squeeze of lime on those tacos, or hot sauce...the result is amazing, but you have to be brave to decide to try it before you can experience any results.

I like working with new new teachers in the classroom as well. Teacher candidates coming in with so much to share, and such a huge desire to be great teachers. It is fun to work with them to develop the strategies that are so important yet we all think of as fluff in our methodologies classes. But once they are staring down 34 10th grade students with a poem in hand wanting to discuss poetic techniques, the realization that strategy really is important dawns on them. And that with a good strategy (or 4) in place , they can discuss poetic techniques with 10th graders.

Add to this list being a Department Chair managing communication, policy, and budget for 15-17 teachers. This gave me a managerial perspective, yuck. I was good at it, and enjoyed it, but that was because I worked to help my department and represent them and our students.

And a last addition to this list I was also an Intervention Teacher on Special Assignment tracking student progress, supporting teachers, managing data systems, etc. this allowed me to see impact. The impact of intervention courses on students individually and on groups. The impact of intervention courses on a department schedule and on teachers. And so, soooo much more.

So really, when is say I am a teacher, what exactly does that mean?

Does it mean the same for all of us who are teacher? I think: yes.

Whether you teach phonemic awareness to 4 year olds or pedagogy to adults, teaching is teaching and teachers are teachers. We share knowledge with learners. We connect with our clientele in a way no sales person ever can. We help people (children, teens, adults) learn, grow, and develop into the people they want to be.

We teach. I am a teacher. 

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