Thanks-vember 16

16 Nov

I’m thankful for people who are enthusiastic about their jobs. People for whom a career is not just something you do 9-5, Monday – Friday, to get a paycheck. Specifically, I’m thankful for educators who are passionate and enthusiastic about what they do.

Example 1: My friend Ms. D teaches Drama and English at a local high school. Tonight I am going to see her drama kids perform a modern adaptation of a Commedia Del Arte play, A Doctor In Spite of Himself. She commissioned a local playwright to adapt and modernize the play for her students. She then spent hours designing, directing, and rehearsing the show. Not during school hours, but after school and on weekends. Remember, she is also teaching English, so she has other students. Papers to grade. Tests to create, administer, and score. But because she cares about what she does, because she enjoys it and wants her students to enjoy it as well, she puts in the extra time.

Example 2: My 3rd-grade student teaching partner and I met with our principal today to present the idea of a school garden. We want to create a school garden, in the vein of Alice Waters’ Edible Schoolyard. It’s an ambitious project, and we knew we would need a lot of teacher support. We presented the idea, and he loved it. He had ideas of his own to add, and after we left and were inspecting a possible garden site, he literally ran out of the office to tell us that another teacher would be interested in working with us. He obviously loves his job, and our school, and wants it to be the best place possible.

I’m sure there are other professions in which people love their work to this extent, but when you work in education, passion pays off. Students respond to teachers who enjoy what they are doing. Teachers respond to principals and administrators who refuse to quit. Returning, if I may, to my post about the lecture given by Pasi Sahlberg, I believe that teachers who are passionate are more respected – because they clearly care about what they do. They can afford to be passionate because they have spent 5 or 6 years preparing to be teachers. They know that teaching is the place for them, and they work hard to get there.

What kind of education system could we have in the US if every teacher was passionate about their job?

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