Sunday, October 20, 2013

We can do better

There are so many charlatans in the world of education. They teach for a couple years, come up with a few clever slogans, build their websites, and hit the lecture circuit. In this fast-food society, simple solutions to complex problems are embraced far too often. We can do better. I hope that people... realize that true excellence takes sacrifice, mistakes, and enormous amounts of effort. After all, there are no shortcuts. 
Rafe Esquith  
Teach Like Your Hair's on Fire

Before beginning to discuss the ins and outs of my teaching life through this blog, I'd like to start with Rafe - and a dose of humility. I have much n common with the 'charlatans' described above (minus the clever slogans and lecture circuits), and I can't help but address the inherent complication that arises when non-experts such as myself decide to promote their beliefs and experiences to the world at large. 

As Rafe explains, "true excellence takes sacrifice, mistakes, and enormous amounts of effort", all of which can only be achieved through experience and time - two areas lacking in the 'teach for a while' world I've existed in thus far. My father is a testament to this, a teacher of 40-odd years in the classroom, a man with volumes of sacrifice, mistakes, and effort on his shelf. It is only through the true grind that we actually come to understand - a lesson, I've learned, that applies quite well to our students, of course. 

And yet it's just that reason that I find myself not-so-humbly publishing my (not-so-genius) thoughts to the web. While I feel that my years in the classroom have thus-far given me a small wealth of experience and knowledge to at least fill a short chapter of my father's volumes, I write instead in an effort to be better. Reflecting on my experiences as a young teacher will only push me to be better (as it's been shown time and again the importance of taking the time to reflect). And perhaps in the process, my sacrifices, mistakes, and efforts can benefit others reading it.

"We can do better." I couldn't agree more.

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