August has arrived and that means another school year is getting ready to launch. It's an exciting time of the year. Students are dying to see their schedule, see who they got for a teacher, see if their friends are in their classes, school supply shopping, perhaps get a few new pieces of clothing, etc. Teachers are excited as well: to see their class roster, get their room ready, organize their materials, plan that first week, and try out new ideas they came up with during the summer. August is the perfect time of year to think about what the role of "Teacher" is, exactly. It sets the foundation for a great year. An impactful year.
First, what the Role of Teacher is NOT:
*The role of the teacher is NOT to simply raise test scores.
*The role of a teacher is NOT just to bust kids for chewing gum or leaning back on their chair.
*The role of a teacher is NOT simply to show up, hand out worksheets, and collect a check.
*The role of the teacher is NOT to dish out pages upon pages of homework.
The Role of the Teacher
*The role of the teacher is first and foremost to build relationships with their students. I send my own kids to school, expecting their teacher to put forth the effort to get to know them and care for them.
*The role of the teacher is to make kids (or keep kids) curious. I send my own children to school expecting them to be more curious than when they started. Sure, I want them to learn skills and content but the MAIN thing I want is for my kids to be curious. I want them to ask questions and wonder about things.
*The role of the teacher is to encourage their students. I send my own children to school, not to be praised for any little thing they do but to be encouraged and pushed to do their best and built up to reach their potential. False praise and praising them for something they are expected to do can stay home.
*The role of the teacher is to inspire. When I send my kids to school, I want them to be inspired to do something great. I don't want them to be told "no, you can't use Twitter" but rather taught how to use Twitter effectively to increase their learning. Don't tell them No. Teach them "how."
*The role of the teacher is to care for their students. When I send my own kids to school, I want them to feel safe. Safe to learn, safe to ask questions, safe to make mistakes. If my daughter comes home and says she wasn't willing to try something because she was afraid she would fail, I will not be a happy camper.
*The role of the teacher is to build a culture of learning. NOT everything needs to be graded. Grades are not important. Grades are not why we do things. Learning is the goal. I want this to be talked about in class daily, that it's the learning that is important not whether you get an "A" or not. I don't want my daughter coming home with pages and pages of busy work homework night in and night out, crushing their spirit and making them hate school. They are kids who need to play and run around and be free, not homework robot machines who are victimized by grade-happy teachers who love to fill up their grade book. It's okay for them to do school work at home, as long as it's "home learning" and NOT "homework."
*The role of the teacher is to be a leader. Show students by example how to try, how to risk, how to make a mistake, how to innovate, how to be passionate, how to put forth effort, how treat others, how to work together. When I send my kids to school, I want their teacher to lead them to be better people.
The Role of the Teacher is deep and meaningful and complex. It is an honor. It is one to be taken seriously, yet one to have a lot of fun with.
Own your Role as Teacher!