“The things that make you weird as a kid, will make you great tomorrow.”
I begin the process of student teaching this coming week and as daunting and exciting as this time is, I want to sit in the overarching question, “What is the purpose of a teacher?” Because I’m not sure we, as a society, agree on what the title specifically entails, what it mandates and what it leaves out.
Is the purpose of an individual in the teaching profession to convey information in an entertaining way? Is their sole duty to present ideas and pass them on, hoping to spark a few flames in the audience, and praying to not dull others? Maybe. In the job description, I’m sure you could find terms that specify bullet points surrounding these central themes.
How important are the other, underlying job duties of a teacher? What about mental stability, emotional stability, physical stability, economic stability? What if my students don’t have the capacity to listen to information being shot at them due to their home life? What happens when bullying ensues? When suppression occurs inside or outside of my classroom? What if a student stops showing up to my class? What happens when they ask for advice I’m unsure how to administer? What happens when they are clearly abusing drugs or alcohol?
No one hones in on the details of life when speaking about education and educators. Our “job” is to teach a discipline, a subject, a set curriculum. I am working to become a great English Teacher. I work very hard to understand how to teach and what to teach. But I rarely encounter the opportunity to discern how to teach the diversity. There’s no one size fits all. You cannot tell 100 different kids to put on a pair of shoes and start running. Some won’t know how to tie shoe-laces, some won’t know how to run, some will have feet too small or too big. The shoes won’t always fit. I’ll need to adjust and re-arrange, re-think examples and ways to present ideas.
Some kids won’t want the shoes at all. Some won’t want my assistance, my advice, my help, my attention. While I sit in my education classes, I’ve come to realize it won’t be my place to change them, or control them. It will be my goal to empower them, encourage them, and enlighten them.
Truthfully, I still have a lot of questions. Luckily, I’m more than willing to ask.