The Educator's PLN

The personal learning network for educators

I remember way back in the 70’s, I think it was Time magazine that came out with an article listing the most difficult jobs in America. I remember it because at the top of that list was the job of an eighth grade English teacher. Time based its list on the number of decisions an individual had to make on the job. Of course as an eighth grade English teacher I felt Time was 100% right in recognizing my contributions to society.

Contrary to what many uninformed critics might say, teaching is a very difficult and time-consuming job. Teachers need to balance relationships of family as well as their relationships with students. Teachers need to balance family time and preparation time for students. Teachers have also in many instances been scapegoated as the root cause of a perceived failing education system. Teaching has been further complicated because of the rapid change occurring each day in our computer-based, digitally driven society.

All of these factors affect every teacher in different ways. The overall effect however seems that many educators feel that they have a difficult job that they are dedicated to, but they are constantly coming under attack from people who don’t get it. Many teachers have to follow mandates that they find fault in. They are being asked to meet demands without being afforded the time or preparation to successfully accomplish them.

Innovation is loudly called for, but support and time to develop that innovation is barely whispered about. Accountability and evaluation of teachers are still subjective concepts in many schools making them a possible threat with less progressive administrators. Innovation and experimentation can be a perilous road for a teacher to take in this current world of education. Failure, although a very strong basis for learning, is still viewed by many as something that must not happen at any cost, especially in teacher evaluations. In order to deal with all of these pressures one answer is to rely on things that worked in the past. Teachers may rely on what worked in the past without objection. It worked before, so it should withstand scrutiny again. The elephant in the room is that if we shift the goal of education from enabling real learning to obtaining better, standardized test results than test review will trump innovative lessons.

Teachers need to resist hunkering down in the successes of the past. This will not provide our students with what they will need for their future. Our learners are different. Our tools for communication, collaboration, and creation are different. Our society is demanding skills from our learners that are different. The world in which we now live is different from when many of our teachers became teachers. Things will continue to change faster than ever before in history.

We as educators cannot take the safe path of teaching from the past. Innovation is important, even if it is not wholeheartedly supported by our system. Professional development should be prioritized for teachers to evolve as constant and continuing changes take place. Teachers need to personalize their own learning, because few schools will provide what is needed to evolve professionally. It is not a comfortable road to travel. It requires time, persistence and commitment. It will involve both failure and success. It will require leaving comfort zones that are the biggest obstacles to change. It will not happen overnight. It is a continuing journey that will begin with taking a first step. As teachers we need to develop in spite of the system, or that will become the very goal of our kids.

We cannot seek safety in our teaching of the past. It would come at the expense of our students. We need to be innovative in our teaching. We need to be relevant in our learning. The system’s lack of commitment to real, respectful, thoughtful professional development, collaborative time, and innovation may be a deterrent, but it should not be the excuse not to innovate. We have the tools and abilities to circumvent that system until it has time to catch up if it choses to do so. We can never let our comfort zones take precedence over our students’ learning.

If we are to better educate our kids, we need first to better educate their educators.

Views: 97

Comment

You need to be a member of The Educator's PLN to add comments!

Join The Educator's PLN

About

Thomas Whitby created this Ning Network.

Latest Activity

Tshering Phuntsho posted a status
"Developing training programme on 'English for Effective Communication for Teachers' for the 9000+ Teachers of Bhutan"
25 minutes ago
Vivi Hamilou posted a blog post

BRAGGING ABOUT SHARING

Photo CreditsDear ELT colleagues,I am talking to you, who love your job and do it the best way you can! I am talking to you, who do not blog about it, or share your ideas through social media because you do not happen to know how to, or do not have the time to! I am also talking to you, who may not…See More
1 hour ago
Vivi Hamilou and Aaron A. McLeary are now friends
1 hour ago
Vivi Hamilou commented on Vivi Hamilou's blog post THE FLIPPED CLASSROOM – LESSON 1 – DEGREES OF ADJECTIVES
"@Aaron A. McLeary, That was only a two-times thing actually and the hard work of materials preparation (videos, interactive games for homework and in-classroom activities) had been completed by a Greek colleague who meant to try them but…"
1 hour ago
Karen Dikson posted a blog post

The Value of Online Degree and How to Choose a Program

Continuous learning is the most important thing if one wants to achieve optimal results and of course, can lead to a person earning a high income. You have probably heard people saying 'You learn constantly while you live' and this cannot be truer. Most of the industries worldwide value education and strive to employ…See More
2 hours ago
Profile IconAmy Krause, Michael Patrick Pittman, Jasmine Britton and 29 more joined The Educator's PLN
2 hours ago
Sophia Louros liked Eileen Lennon's blog post Parent Teacher Conference is a learning experience for me
Sunday
Jordan Siedhoff updated their profile
Sunday

Awards And Nominations

© 2017   Created by Thomas Whitby.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service