Learning From A Fresh Start

Hey everybody! It’s been awhile, and life is a little different these days for me. I’m learning a lot and really enjoying life. I’ve stepped away from the classroom and education in general for a bit, but it has given me a lot of time to think about teaching.

So, I’ve decided to work on a book for new and young teachers. I want to impact the next generation of teachers, and I hope to share a realistic look at the teaching profession along with an approach to teaching that is effective, invigorating and healthy.

One book that I returned to was Professional Capital by Andy Hargreaves and Michael Fullen. If you haven’t read it, please do. It is an insightful look into transforming teaching from all levels. One aspect of the book that I liked was how it looked at the false stereotypes of teaching based on the experience that we have all had in school. Two of my favorite false stereotypes include:

  1. “A precious gift possessed by a few ‘born’ teachers.” This one strikes me because I have always considered myself a true believer. I was that young and enthusiastic idealist who wanted to change the world. While there’s nothing wrong with that, it takes more than that to be a great teacher.
  2. A data driven enterprise, like business…” I cringe whenever I hear the analogy of education to business. Data are important, but it is not the most important thing. It is only a tool used within the larger construct of education to gain a perspective.

The book also speaks to silver bullets, the big ideas by politicians that sound great on paper but don’t work in the real world. I’ll admit, I love big ideas, but I’ve been on the ground too long not to realize that theory is not reality.

So, I’m trying to encourage young people to take a view of education that allows a steady trajectory as a teacher. Working with other teachers to improve, teaching and learning are at its heart four things:

  1. Learning is messy
  2. Teaching and learning are personal
  3. Power is in the collective
  4. Risk-taking creates change, but failure is part of the process

I’m trying to come up with some great graphic or mnemonic device. I’ll take your ideas.

By the way, I just read a great article about apathy in schools, so if you’ve read this far, I will offer it as a link.  Just click on link!

Hope you’re staying warm if you’re in Wisconsin!

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