professornana (professornana) wrote,

What kind of a teacher are you?

It was an innocent question. The young woman clearing breakfast dishes this morning asked, "What kind of teacher are you?" I replied with what I knew she wanted, "A college teacher." But the question really spurred me thinking over the bacon and eggs. What kind of a teacher am I? And I thought this might be a good question to ask myself frequently. Just the evening before, I had a chance to chat with a newbie teacher. She was asking a ton of questions about how to fit everything into 75 minutes. She was wondering about choice and access and selecting books for her classroom library and how to share her reading life with them. I assured her that the very fact that she was asking questions, that she was unsure of exactly what to do, that she was worried about not doing her best underscored that she was "becoming" the teacher she wants to be. After 40 years, I am still "becoming" the teacher I want to be. I question. I revise. I make changes. I read. I talk to colleagues. I attend PD online and in person. So what kind of a teacher am I?

First and foremost, I am a learner. I love learning new stuff. Over the 40 years in my education I have become more adept at using technology. I have learned to use new platforms and apps. I now write on the computer instead of paper (which explains my horrific penmanship these days). I create presentations electronically and share them the same way. And I am also learning more about reading and writing. I devour professional books, track down sessions at conferences where I hope to learn new skills and new ways of thinking.

I am a passionate teacher. Anyone who knows me has seen the passion in various guises. Last week I talked to a young man who was viewing newly released movies online and who did not think this was unethical or illegal. I am passionate about censorship. I challenge the "sets" and "kits" and levels and lexiles that are used to limit what kids can access and read.

I am someone who does not divest the teacher part of me when I am off the job. I recommend books to customers at bookstores much to the chagrin of my BH. I am always thinking of teaching and my role as a teacher. Hence, the simple question this morning that made me begin to reflect.

I am still evolving as a teacher. When I no longer am evolving, I think it is time to retire. The opening presentation at Boothbay featured Amelia Van Name Larson shared a quote, "If you can, as a teacher, be replaced by a computer, maybe you SHOULD be replaced."

So, what kind of teacher are you?
Tags: teacher, teaching
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