Sunday, August 02, 2015

A Moment of Serious Talk

I'm a teacher, and I take my job very seriously.

Don't let the fact that I'm standing on top of this desk surrounded by my students be any reason to question my sanity or sincerity. Do not mistake for a moment that the loudness and laughter coming from this classroom is a sign of chaos or confusion. What you're actually hearing is engagement and excitement fueled by genuine curiosity and wonder.

On any given day, if you peek into my classroom, you'll probably find me sporting a t-shirt, jeans, and tennis shoes. But don't for an instant, question my professionalism. Professionalism is not printed on a tie or sewn into a seam. It's not a brand name found on the inside of a collar or a cuff. And if something about my t-shirt creates a connection with a student, which leads to a genuine conversation, which in turn helps me build a relationship with that student so that I can better understand his or her needs in the future, then I will wear that t-shirt every single week...or until we find something better to talk about.

My job is not about worksheets, or quizzes, homework or tests. It's about questioning the reason, not memorizing the answers. It's about examining the journey, not simply bubbling in the destination. It is about raising the standards, not shooting for some predetermined number on a politicians napkin. Because innovation will never be found in answer A, B, C, or D, and true success can't be measured on a scale of 1 to 100; Not when the opportunities for greatness are found so much higher, and it is those places that we need to reach.

You can believe teaching is all about "summer vacations" or going home at 4:00. But the truth is, it's about opening minds and teaching people to think differently. It's about challenging high performing students to take that extra step. It's about finding those that stumble and helping them learn to fly. Because everyone is capable of flight, even if they achieve it in different ways, especially the ones that don't yet realize that they can.

I am a teacher. At some point in the coming school year you'll find me rockin' my electric guitar, reinacting scenes from popular movies, and standing on my desk. Someone may break out in song or dance, and there will be laughter. But make no mistake, I take my job very seriously and I wouldn't trade it for the world.

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