The job of a teacher is hard to define.
There are performance reviews based on student achievement in standardized testing…there are administrative “walk-throughs”…there are observation rubrics and evaluations. And yet none of these options get to the heart of what makes a teacher successful.
It comes down to passion, engagement and relationship building.
My work provides many opportunities to interact with all kinds of educators-novice to experienced, of varied cultural backgrounds…from teachers working in a converted carport in Port au Prince, Haiti to a beautiful Montessori setting to special education settings for students facing significant emotional/behavioral needs…
The teachers that arrive in their classrooms each morning with positive attitudes and authentic interest in their students are the ones that succeed.
These folks genuinely care about the needs, as well as the strengths, of the young scholars they encounter. They take the time to ask questions, to learn, to modify their instruction in order to bring about engagement in learning.
Just this week, teachers felt incredible heart break, as students died in the horrific tornado in Moore, Oklahoma…and in a treacherous landslide while on a field trip to Lilydale Park in Minnesota. The images of those events brought empathetic teachers across the country to their knees. I join many in feeling that my duty each day is to inspire, encourage and protect the children in my care. When unexplainable events occur and the ability to protect is no longer possible, the pressure and sense of responsibility is incredibly heavy. And yet, we must go on…to continue each day…to teach to the best of our abilities.
Also this week, I had the opportunity to view visions that inspired. Teachers nurturing students in classrooms across the city…creating memory-making experiences for inquisitive minds. (A huge “shout out” to the staff/students at the Benjamin E. Mays Autism program and their incredible performance of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory!)
As another school year is coming to an end, I am pausing to reflect on the incredible job it is to be a teacher. It is a commitment to excellence that has the power to impact many, many lives.