Sunday, May 3, 2015

A timely reminder - why teaching's FAB

This post that popped up on my my Facebook feed today -
- and was a timely reminder for me, that despite all of the issues in teaching (and not just confined to NZ), teaching is still one of, if not the, best and most important jobs in the world.

We continually read of the wide world issues facing teachers and teaching - new teachers leaving in droveshead teachers / principals stress load, unreasonable overtesting of students .....and it goes on.

My own current stress levels are somewhat elevated around specific site based issues at my school - but I'm a reasonably chilled person, so having an elevated stress levels is not too much of a problem!

Teaching today is about continual improvement - the cycle of inquiry is essential in this process. All teachers at our school carry out an inquiry - as always there is a spectrum of engagement from simple low level compliance through to those who actively and passionately want to do better, who realise that the students in front of them are individuals and that delivering the 'same old, same old' from year to year is just not going to do it for the students. These are the ones who are a pleasure to have a learning conversation with; who willingly share in cross-curricular meetings and are excited to tell you when things do (or more likely, do not) work as expected.

We hear about student creativity all the time from educational superstars such as  Sir Ken and Stephen Heppell, but how often do we think about creativity in ourselves as teachers and in the facilitation of learning in our classrooms? How creative are our lessons? Our timetables? Our curriculums? These are questions that we are grappling with as we go through a major rebuild. I'm looking forward to the conversations around this. Creativity will be a challenge for some - creativity may well be a synonym for change! The 21st century is well and truly here, and has been for 15 years! We need to make the changes that will allow for the delivery of engaging and authenic curriculum.

So many parts of the work are satisfying. Self improvement is satisfying. It might also be hard and time consuming. Using the 'teaching is inquiry cycle', self improvement is linked to improving student outcomes. That is satisfying. Focussing on 'growth mindset' (one of my goals for this year) is satisfying. Seeing students improve is satisfying.

So the post 'Why teaching is the best job in the world' was a timely reminder. Not the easiest. Not the least time consuming, Not the best paid. Just simply the best!

It reminds me of the quote that has a prominent place on my office door and features in my CV - the words are from Christa McAuliffe, the civilian teacher who died in the US Challenger disaster - 'I touch the future. I teach' 

Simply the best!

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