I don’t want to be a teacher anymore. I decided that today.
As a kid in school I remember growing up thinking that you could only be a teacher if you knew the answers to everything! Seemed logical to me, since my teachers had an answer to everything. There wasn’t anything they didn’t know so I grew up thinking: Teachers know everything!
Even today I think the word “teacher” implies someone with all the answers, all the knowledge, and all the skills. But that’s a very daunting position to be in.
I don’t have all the answers. I had to answer “I don’t know,” to at least four or five questions today and I think that’s ok! In fact, I think it’s great when kids ask me questions I don’t know.
I don’t want to be a teacher who holds all the knowledge. I want to be a learning coach, one who can guide kids and myself down the path of good learning together. I want to be a facilitator, to show kids how to gain answers to questions, not to just give them the answers they want. I want to be a mentor to kids who want to learn just as I seek to learn from others in my profession. I want to be the guide who shows them how to build their own PLN to draw from long after they’ve left my classroom.
The old school (pardon the pun) way of thinking of the teacher as some great omnipotent being with knowledge that was meant to disseminate to the masses of students is so wrong in my personal world today. If kids want to know something I don’t know, then I want them to find out and “teach” me.
So if a teacher is defined as someone who stands at the front of the classroom, holding all the answers in the teacher manual as if it’s some secret that you can only get in on if you ask the right questions, and who is expected to know everything….
Then I don’t want to be a teacher. I’d rather be a real person thank you. One who doesn’t have all the answers in a handy guide.
To my students I say: Sure, I know lots of stuff. But I’d rather learn with you than teach everything to you. I’d rather that your learning is a partnership with me, rather than this top down model of telling you everything I know and then expecting you to remember it.
Today I learned, learning is an active sport.
And so my challenge to my students is: Go on, teach me something I don’t already know. I’m waiting for you.