Recently I have read a series of other people’s posts and websites that have helped me realize that we, as teachers, often sit down, roll over and play dead when we should be questioning, expressing our opinions, trying new ways in our classrooms and sharing with our peers. WE are the experts in our jobs and we should be educating parents, students and our administrators NOT to expect the same thing we have always seen or done in schools.
I have NEVER had a parent say to me, “I don’t want my child learning the topics s/he is interested in and learning to read and write in real contexts.”
I have NEVER had a parent say to me, “I don’t believe you can see what my child knows and doesn’t know about reading and writing by looking at their writing (blog, wiki, etc.) as they read and write in real ways.”
I have NEVER had a principal say to me, “Your students are so animated and alive with excitement about learning every time I come into your room. PLEASE STOP MAKING THEM FEEL THAT WAY!”
You see, I began as a primary teacher. I became a primary teacher because a saleslady discriminated against me as a child, and when it happened, I decided right then and there I would grow up and work with children and NEVER treat them the way that saleslady treated me. I am not the only one who has had a childhood experience shape their views about education.
As a primary teacher, one constantly has to be teaching social skills and showing students HOW to learn. In the primary grades, it is all about processes–learning to read using many strategies, looking for patterns and relationships in math and numbers in our world, doing science as scientists do, studying history through stories and books, and writing about what we were studying.
I am NOT a cog.
I NEVER believed in being a widget myself. I have never believed in producing my students as widgets. I refuse to believe that teachers are SUPPOSED to be widgets or create them. (Read The Widget Effect for more info.)
I recently had a friend share that her son had told her he believed “teachers were people who were unable to get jobs as dictators.”
I am not a dictator, either.
I believe we know what is best for our students and that we buckle under to pressure NOT to do that, in the name of standardized tests, raising state test scores, time issues, access problems, and a myriad of other things that interfere with us following OUR passions.
I’m not going to roll over and play dead anymore. I am not going to sit by quietly while my Board of Supervisors and school board make budget cuts that will kill some of the best parts of our world class school system. I am not going to watch programs be decimated by the economy without a fight.
I am going to become a gladiator for my kids, for my colleagues and for myself.
I am going make sure EVERYTHING I do looks, feels and sounds like who I am as an educator–an advocate for the children. I am going to do so with all of my heart and in ways that impact upon others’ hearts, so that they too will feel the call of leading the learning in ways that matter in our division and in our world.
I am going to share my kids’ passions with our school board–with our money guardians–and with my students’ parents. I am also going to share their words and their ideas as they share them with the world as to what they want THEIR school to look like and be.
Will you join me and follow your heart in your classroom, your school, your interactions with students? Will you plan a lesson or series of interactions for tomorrow that will light a fire in some reluctant student and help them want to come back? Then, will you share that lesson, that idea, that spark with a colleague to ignite them as well?
Let’s BE the experts and begin to lead from the heart, from the classroom, from the base as we build a quality way of doing business that does NOT kill curiosity, wonder and willingness to problem solve and figure things out. Let’s build that love of learning we all dreamed about when we first began OUR trek into the world of school. Let’s make sure the people who make the decisions that impact our very essence understand the effect their decisions have upon our future. . and our students’ future.