Sunday, November 18, 2012

Why do teachers teach anyway?

Do we teach to make an impact? Do we teach to prepare students to be productive citizens? Do we teach to assist students with life skills? Do we teach to assist students in the mastering of academic content?

I believe I would answer yes to all of the above questions. What about you?

I ask these questions because I recently had a conversation with one of my own teachers... During the conversation, the teacher made the following comment, "my job is not to prepare my students for the future. It is to teach the standards." I thought the comment was rather fascinating. You see, this teacher is a really excellent teacher. I would be completely fine and even ecstatic if my own child was privileged to be taught by this teacher. However, I believe, like many excellent teachers, the comment is a reflection of what our current system has done to many, if not most, of our finest educators: tricked them into believing our job is only one facet. Our jobs are MUCH more than teaching standards. Our jobs are MUCH more than teaching "to a test." We are privileged and honored each and every day to welcome human beings with great potential and beautiful minds. Let's pause, forget about the standards every once in a while and teach the child. As a reminder... I like the following quote:

"The object of education is to prepare the young to educate themselves throughout their lives." - Robert M. Hutchins

What do you think? Why do you teach? What do you think our educator's job is? 

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