With 30 years in the saddle as a teacher, and 25 years in the same classroom, I am still growing. Still improving. Still feeling the pain of change as I stretch myself in my craft.
Yes, I said craft. I might even say art. My statement? Teaching is an art.
I know we debated this in my undergraduate classes in education, and we continued to ponder the question: Is teaching an art or a science?
Before any of you gets up in arms, let me qualify my answer by saying, Teaching is an art for me. This is where I am comfortable, but more importantly, the art of teaching is where I can stretch and grow. The art of teaching is where I excel and shine. It's where I prove myself. It's where I get results.
You, my peer, may find your own niche on the other side of the debate. You may excel with data analysis and small group instruction in response to your findings. You may thrive in constantly assessing and comparing your own students with those of other teachers, other schools, and other states.
If you know me, you see me as different, strange, and weird. You know that I like to own my lessons - and not buy worksheets from Teachers Pay Teachers. I'm not one who spends a lot of time with Pinterest. I strive to make my class and my lessons unique. If you know me, you know I have my students interests at heart. You know I work to establish strong relationships with them. You know that my interactions motivate the unmotivated, encourage the discouraged, and calm the anxious.
Administrators and legislators need to understand that you are different than other teachers. There must be a system where professional teachers are accepted for their strengths. If you can grow better by attacking instruction with a series of if/then statements, you should be allowed to pursue happiness in that realm. If I can stay in the same classroom for three decades and still be growing my craft, then I must not be saddled with tasks that hinder my strengths. I'm ready to make a statement.
Educators must be held accountable, but they must also be allowed to shine.