I've never been one to fit a mold, and I've always advocated for creative license in both the content and processes of teaching. I learned early in my career that I'm less effective if I have to use a textbook. I never did as well when students had individual desks. I prefer non-traditional combinations of techniques and cross-curricular lessons to a set schedule.
In short, I strive to be different. It's something of which I have been aware since an early age. I remember preferring Dr. Pepper to Pepsi based not only on flavor (Pepsi, really?), but based also on their advertising slogans. Dr. Pepper had it's "One of a Kind" campaign while Pepsi touted itself as "The Choice of a New Generation". Let's see: join the crowd or be original? For me it's a no-brainer.
So now you know one more reason I drink Diet Dr. Pepper...but this is an educational website, not a blog about soft drinks and ad campaigns.
I've heard way too many teachers who believe that every teacher needs to follow a set pattern. They yearn for a script to be given to them. They adopt each generic lesson plans designed to make every teacher present the same things at the same times in the same ways.
Too many fail to see the art of teaching. Too many see students as if-then statements. They don't think for themselves. They wait for units and assessments to be handed to them. They have stopped being creative. They have lost must of the joy of teaching.
When our educational lives become generic, cookie-cutter, robotic, our classes become bland, tasteless, and monotonous. When our planning and presentation is set, uncreative, and routine, our students become no more than numbers to be tracked, statuary in a government institution, and red tape in a society that's sinking in the sands of boredom.
When did the experts change us? Why do they not see the effect of their constant calls for uniformity? Where is the call for independence, a sense of self, and uniqueness instead? I yearn for a school where teachers are unique, celebrating their special strengths and eclectic personalities. Dare I say, I want an atmosphere of originality, and to risk a cliche, thinking outside the box. Unclasp the leashes. Open the shackles. Take your nose out of the book. Get off the tracks. Take the scenic route and the trail less traveled. Be one of a kind. Rediscover the magic, the art, and the joy of teaching!