Hmmm…ponder with me for a moment:
Thomas Baker, an American educator for over twenty years, eloquently frames the mindset that, some might argue, plagues not only educators, but anyone else who considers themself a teacher or instructor or community youth worker: justify your value.
For as long as I can remember, I have always worked with kids: babysitter, swim instructor, youth basektball coach, canoe trip leader, camp counselor. I knew that teaching was a higher calling of sorts, one at which the public often threw its stones. But, I also knew of the personal, emotional, and social committments that were involved (both mom and dad were lifelong teachers) as part of the profession.
Teaching is an enormous responsibility that most of us take very seriously and undertake with great pride. It is also a calling to which many of signed up for not really recognizing the expectations that society had long laid bare: educating our children is the most important things that a society can do for itself (so don’t screw it up).
So, What do I make?
And here we are 150 years into this outdated, quickly-becoming-irrelevant, modern industrial-age western education model, and still not much has changed. Although the pressures of social media, the drive to ‘personalize learning’ (still haven’t found a satisfactory explanation of this!), and the blurring of what learning actually is, the expectation for teachers to evolve and continue to lead and teacher and guide remains steadfast.
But, the jokes on them. I’m up for this. I accept and this challenge. Relish it, actually. I hope my kids’ teachers feel the same way.
But, always remember what we make: we make compassionate contributors to our society.
Could there be an occupation with a greater expectation? Could there be one with an even greater calling?
You would be hard pressed to convince me otherwise.
Many thanks to my good friend and colleague at Kelowna Secondary School, Al Smith (The Literate Owl), for sending this one out!