Since I began writing this blog I have heard from many teachers across the country and around the globe. Many are “career changers”, who are entering the teaching field later in life. I appreciate your comments! I hope when you read what I write, you also read the comments posted by other readers. That’s the really good stuff. Thanks for sharing.
Coming from a background of self-employment in childcare, I have struggled to accept all the mandated programs of education today. Standardized testing, pacing guides, required lessons, and restrictions on field trips and assemblies mean all students learn the same things, usually by sitting at a desk in the same room day after day. That frustrates me a little, because I believe in differentiated instruction, and the needs of students to learn through lots of different methods. I have tried in my year and a half of experience to stay on the pacing guide (I have to!) while using different techniques to teach them. It’s hard. I wonder if these mandated programs will improve education.
But positively speaking, one of the things I find great about the teaching field is the free sharing of information. I have rarely met a teacher who is not willing to hand over a worksheet or lesson they have designed. Most will give you tips on how to survive a difficult day, and will help celebrate a successful one. We work so hard! So of course we want to share our hard work with others. The teaching profession is not competitive in the same way that sales, or research, or management jobs are. We know we’re all needed in school, so there’s not much point to holding back information. In fact, it’s quite the opposite, because the individual teacher must contribute to the success of the school as a whole.
Recently an English teacher asked me how my co-teacher and I got world history students to prepare research reports, complete with correct bibliography and illustrated cover. Her class was working on similar projects on literature. I shared some tips with her. I felt like I had to, since I had recently asked an English teacher how to teach essay writing to history students. We have to share – after all, the students have to pass high school assessments in both English and Government (not to mention Biology and Algebra) in order to receive a diploma. And if our students don’t pass, neither does the school. I think all teachers understand the pressures of standardized testing now. I wish we had more time to share with other teachers.
I am thankful for computers. I’m just starting to understand the depth of the internet, and the power of electronic information. I might be older, but I’m still computer literate. I love looking for lesson plans online, and reading teacher blogs. Our school system allows teachers to post files on our desktops for all others to freely access. I’ve learned a lot by reading others' work.
Information sharing – that’s what is going to change education. Not because it’s federally mandated, but because we’re so good at what we do we just have to let others know about it. The more teachers share their strengths, the more the schools are strengthened.
Please let me share this with you -- may all the joy of the season reach your heart and your soul, and give you peace and strength.