While driving home from work an old Alice Cooper song came on the radio “Schools Out for Summer.” As I listened to it I got to thinking about my post on teachers and how sad it is that the bad teachers out there are such a disruptive force in the educational process for so many students. Imagine two students entering the same grade, covering the same material, one has a good teacher and one has a poor teacher. At the end of the school year one student will come away having experienced growth and is eager to continue learning, while the other student comes away with nothing.
I taught for ten years and was considered to be a pretty good teacher. My student’s District Language Arts Test pass rate was always good and I had relatively few disciplinary problems. In fact, I don’t think I gave out more than 4 referral in ten years while some teachers at my school averaged 60 or more per year. (The principal kept an unofficial tally) Before becoming a counselor I worked 2 years as a long term sub, 5 years teaching sixth grade English and World History and 3 years teaching eighth grade English and U.S. History. In that time I had the opportunity to work with more great teachers than poor ones. My first few years I had the good fortune to be teamed with an incredible teacher and was able to learn quite a bit about how to be a good teacher.
I guess what bothered me a little about what I posted yesterday is the idea that only certain people can teach and create magic in the classroom. That is not the message that that I intended. I do not believe anyone is a born teacher. A good teacher may come into the classroom with certain personal qualities that enhance his/her abilities, but I believe that becoming a good teachers doesn’t happen over night. It’s a developmental process involving observation, continued education, collaboration with other teachers, trial and error, and fine tuning. The best way to improve is to observe a good teacher in action. The more time you are willing to give to your craft the more you will get from it and the better you will become. I believe that even poor teachers can become great ones if they really want to and are willing to devote themselves to the cause.
There is nothing so incredible as your first teaching ‘aha’ moment. You’re walking around the classroom watching as your students are busily engaged in their project or assignment. You can feel the energy, they’re totally into it, sharing, discussing brainstorming, learning! Then it hits you, that moment of clarity when all the pieces fall into place and it all makes perfect sense.This is what it’s all about, the culmination of all your planning, preparation and hard work. This is the magic I referred to, this is what teaching is all about! These are the moments good teachers live for. They are the reason I became a teacher. I believe in magic! Do you?
Just a thought,