This is onr of the first post ever published at TeacherAde and I have re-read it many times trying to figure out how I can make it better. This is the message that I want to get across in this blog. It is found on the Philosophy page under the Educational Philosophy heading.
Education is a complex issue or topic. However, for those brave souls who actually educate students (teachers are who I am speaking of) there are just a few things that you need to remember to be a success. Teachers can obtain many traits and there are so many different things that will help make you a good teacher, but philosophically I have narrowed it down to four characteristics that all of the greatest teachers have.
Educators must be Educated.
If you do not know it you can not (or at least should not) teach it. It is true that the one who teaches learns more than those being taught and it is also true that some curriculums are laid out word for word for the teacher. Despite the truth in those statements educators should be trained in what they are teaching. You do not have to be a guru of knowledge but an uneducated person can not be a teacher.
Educators must be Learners
Ideas and practices are changing. Teachers that stay current always learn new things. History is something that once you got it then you got it right? NO!!!! If that was the case there would be no need for historians!!!! New concepts are constantly being discovered and new beliefs are being put into the academic worlds, teachers need to make an effort to continually learn and re-learn there stuff. Stay current. Math teachers can always learn as well. There is numerous ways to teach math, numerous ways to do math; Learn them, use them.
Even if you are not learning new things in your content area teachers have to change with the changing world. Teachers who had great lessons 10 years ago should not be teaching the exact same lesson in the exact same way today. Parts of it should have changed with the technology, parts should have changed with student demographics, nothing should stay static. Educators should continue to learn new things.
Educators must be Professional
What is professionalism? It can mean different things at different times. Professional is taking the job seriously. Being there consistently, being there on time, and doing a good job while you are there. Being prepared is a part of being professional. You may be educated enough to be a good teacher but if you are not prepared for the day you can get eaten alive by students.
If you are not sure if something has a professional appeal to it ask yourself "Is ________ distracting to myself, my co-workers, or my students?"
If whatever is in that blank has a yes to any three of the peoples listed, then NO, IT IS NOT PROFESSIONAL. Being prepared, is that distracting to anyone?, Is dressing appropriately (which means different things at different places) distracting to any on? Is speaking politly and respectfully to everyone distracting? No they are not distracting because they are professional, and quality teachers are professional.
Educators must be Sensible
You will lose your mind if you are not sensible. Teachers have full plates and many hats. On top of the 150 students that you have to teach, grade papers for, and mentor, there are meetings and committees and lunchroom duties, and bus duties, and hallway duties. Training and paperwork goes right along with all of the above mentioned. Some teachers coach and tutor and perform numerous other after school activities. Not to mention family, personal, and social lives.
If you are not sensible and have your priorities in order then you will go crazy and eventually hate your job. If you are doing everything right on paper (you are prepared, your determined, you work hard at your job) you will not reach every student. In some extreme cases you may not reach any. Some students do not care and despite how much effort you put forward it does not matter what the hypotenuse of a right triangle is or who the commander of the British army is during the Revolutionary War. You can not stress yourself out over students not caring. That is not to say you should give up on them or that you should not attempt to motivate them, but it means it is not sensible to believe that you are going to have a "Freedom Writers" story and everyone will all of a sudden care because you are there teacher and you are trying hard.
Being sensible is putting your job and responsibility in perspective. You can not over indulge yourself to the point where you hate your job. That is not healthy for you or your students. If you have a class that is not up to par, then you give it everything you got as long as you can, but do not concern yourself with the results or what the results suggest about your teaching abilities. Once you have the right perspective everything else is going to make sense.
How does this align with your philosophy of education? Does this provide a general road map for success? Is there something missing that all teachers need?