As we consider the theme of teacher appreciation, I feel it is relevant to think about the role a teacher holds and what we expect of our teachers. Individuals choose to enter the field of education because they think they are going to change the world. They have a spirited belief that people are good and want to improve the well-being of others.
Recently, I had the good fortune of hearing John David Bowman, named the 2015 Teacher of the Year by the Arizona Education Association, speak at Grand Canyon University. The event was sponsored by Educators Rising, GCU’s student education club.
Beg, Borrow and Steal
John reminded us that everything individuals do is because someone helped them along the way. He shared the impact of networking and collaboration, helping and being helped. He suggested future teachers make connections as they aspire to work at a school. Become a part of the sharing culture that is education. The adage “beg, borrow and steal,” is real for education. It will cause too much stress to recreate everything you need. Give credit where credit is due, but take things from others to apply to your needs. Modify materials for your class, and make it work for you.
Teachers, Not Friends
We want to be liked as teachers, but we are teachers of students, not friends of students. We develop relationships in a support role, not a peer role. Teachers need to stay consistent with expectations for the classroom. This means not having favorites and not allowing leeway for one student over another.
Different Every Day
Being a teacher means every day is different. While our behavioral expectations remain constant, our teaching does not. Each day teachers find some methods that don’t work and they need to make adjustments. It becomes an ongoing effort to find equilibrium. This involves taking risks—and trying methods that may not work.
Let us take this time to appreciate John Bowman, future teachers and current teachers. Make a list of adjectives for teachers. This is what teachers are striving for every day. This is a teacher’s goal post. Remember teaching is about relationships. Teachers must be human. This involves the giving of oneself to make connections. Students must know their teacher cares. This principle is ultimately demonstrated when students come back months or years after leaving the classroom, and they tell the teacher thank you.
In the midst of politics surrounding the field of education, a teacher need only ask one simple question: “Why am I here?”
The students. You have the ability to change their lives.