Thursday, September 11, 2014

I Love that Teaching is “So Hard”

By:  Donna Klockars

Teaching young children how to read is a science. It is not a mystical talent that some are born with and others...not so much. It is a set of practices that can be identified. Anyone can learn them. 

However, be warned. Teaching is not for the faint of heart. It requires extensive hands on coaching, self-reflection, constantly reading current literature, willingness to implement new ideas; but most of all: it demands collaboration. The notion that the most important learner in the classroom should be the teacher; is the backbone of everything that happens in the field of education. Teacher education, mentorship and daily practice should be grounded in the understanding that educators must be active learners. They must talk about their practice. They must reflect on their practice. The decisions educators make minute-to-minute matter. Research proven strategies must guide and inform our practice every step of the way. Lesson sequences become the focus of intense and focused examination between colleagues. The shared feedback takes time and most educators have zero hours dedicated to working together to explore and practice new pedagogies.

Before I get to my ideas about how I hope to address this frustrating part of education, I want to talk about the teacher as an artist.  Powerful and effective teachers must have a rich and vibrant palate to work with. The educator knows the “canvas” that is created for learners must first be interesting and engaging. A variety of proven approaches and multi-leveled resources must be readily available.  One hundred percent commitment to celebrate and strengthen every child’s unique way of being drives the artist/teacher to make learning joyful.

Teaching is all consuming and this is precisely why I love it!. It is a profession of the mind and of the heart. “Top shelf “ teaching and the lessons that guide the learning take countless hours of preparation. The ridiculous stereotype of teaching being a leisurely occupation involving nine to five workdays and long stretches of rest and relaxation during the summer defies logic. No other professional is framed in this single dimension of job performance. Lawyers are not considered working only during the time they present a case in court. What those of us that spend hours educating our children need but don’t get is dedicated time with peers and mentors. This is what is essential to this profession of the mind and of the heart. Time to reflect and collaborate is not a frill. This is what improves student success and improves the science and art of teaching. 

I hope you will consider listening and commenting on my teaching and learning lesson sequences. I teach all ages, including adults. I believe that anyone who is passionate about education is an educator. Can we talk?

In friendship,

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