Thursday, February 24, 2011

Teachers live and teach in their own Utopian Worlds, behind closed doors, assuming behind each and every other closed classroom door teaches another equally motivated, dedicated and inspiring teacher. We defend the honor of educators everywhere, assured in our own minds that all are on an even keel, providing a quality educational experience for students.

When that boat is rocked for a teacher, the overwhelming incompetence of colleagues can be a shocking awakening to our secure existences. Suddenly, the reports we see on the news, the attacks on public education, all the negativity seems plausible. We question our own worth. We question our faith in the all.

I've loved teaching from the moment I set foot in a classroom. From the first time I was in a middle school classroom during my student teaching days, I knew that THIS was what I was meant to do. I've loved the kids, the subjects I've taught, and the never-ending excitement of my chosen career path. I've often remarked I can't believe they PAY ME to do this.

I lived in my own closed door world of Utopia. I thought every other teacher had the same ideals, the same dedication, the same drive to provide the best possible opportunity for their students.

Then, my world changed. I saw into the classrooms of others. Some teachers I've watched teach with a fever and dedication that shames my own methods. I watch and learn in awe of their knowledge, their passion and their constant drive for their own excellence to shine in their classrooms. I leave those classrooms as inspired as the students, feeling as if I've grown as a person just by having witnessed that person teach and share their love of subject matter with their students. These are the superstars of education, the ones who should earn the Grammy or Oscar of our profession.

Other classrooms, I see teachers who are adequate, getting their students from point A to point B, with little inspiration or flare, but with a certain safe and guaranteed plan that in and of itself offers security for students in those classes. These are teachers who teach, convey content, and earn their paycheck, day by day, lesson by lesson.

Then, there are the classrooms where every day, a part of my teacher heart dies, withering into oblivion, watching the incompetence, the slacking, the willingness to just get by that is exhibited by these teachers. I watch students flounder in the chaos, struggling to make it through yet another hour entrusted to this adult.

and I miss my own Utopia, my own little world of oblivion... that secure planet I taught on for so long....

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