Back and forth argument on Twitter helps me rethink why we do what we do.

By @MrZachG

twitter_battle_a_l

Recently, this tweet came up on my feed.

As I sometimes do when I am reading through Ed talk on Twitter, I responded by tweeting to the user my personal reasons why I had gotten into teaching.

If you are one of these people, good for you! It’s okay to get into teaching for reasons other than your love of literature or math. I got into teaching because I care deeply about our kids. Later, as I continued my professional development, I learned about soft skills and some of the 21st century skills that go beyond the traditional subject areas. I started working in a PYP school, which has a transdisciplinary program that looks between and beyond the traditional subject areas. I certainly didn’t get into teaching just to teach math, but I am so glad that I get to every day at my school.

The Tweeterment Continued. .

After replying with my personal reason for getting into teaching, which was mainly about building relationships with students and parents in the community, the Twitter user responded as such:

Interesting. I needed to think about what this Twitter user was saying. I went back to her original tweet for clarification, and split it into two parts:

  1. Teachers join the profession because they have a deep academic love of their subject. Of course not ALL of us did or do. Some end up falling in love with their subjects after they get to teaching them. Some never do end up loving their subjects on a deep and academic level, but sure do convince their students that they do! I am a living example of a teacher that got into teaching for different reasons than the presumption that the Twitter user was making.
  2. How can you teach before having studied it in depth? I don’t necessarily think that most primary teachers have studied their subjects –  elementary literacy, math and science, etc. . –  “in depth” before becoming teachers. The sense I have always gotten is that, besides the few introductory courses that we were offered during our certificate and M.Ed programs, most teachers have had to learn the elementary ed subjects on the job. I didn’t know much about Alexandre Graham Bell last year, but I learned it right along with a student as he completed his board for Exhibition. And I don’t know much about making this one kid’s alarm bell out of everyday materials for my class right now, but we’re using the good ol’ internet to figure it out.

After a few more tweets of going back and forth with this polite user, it finally came down to a fundamental disagreement that we had.

What are Teachers Paid For?

And what is the role of teachers? The easiest way I thought to figure out why I am paid is to look at my teaching contract. In it are these seven professional standards:

  • Individual and Community
  • Planning for Learning
  • Teaching for Learning
  • Assessing for Learning
  • Creating the Environment for Learning
  • Pastoral Responsibilities
  • Professional Growth and Leadership

When I looked at these professional standards, it was interesting that 3 out of the 7 had entirely to do with why I became a teacher: Individual and Community, Creating the Environment for Learning, and Pastoral Responsibilities.

Of course, I am “paid” to plan, teach and assess for learning, and to seek professional growth and leadership when required, but at least my school understands that education is more than just knowledge of subject. At my school, which is a great school, we teach the whole child.

The Tweeterment Ends. .

Of course, I didn’t go into this conversation to try to ruin anyone’s day. I wanted to use Twitter as I have always used social media; as a medium for discussion on issues that matter to me. So it was a bit disappointing to me when the user abruptly ended the conversation as such:

Hmm. . Not really. .

Just started on Twitter and already making waves? Keep coming back to Education Rickshaw as my wife and I add content throughout the school year.

6 thoughts on “Back and forth argument on Twitter helps me rethink why we do what we do.

  1. grumpytyke says:

    Hi. Thanks for the follow. I am not a teacher though I have taught, from Elementary to University (English as FL). I preferred Elementary, very different to my wife who is, and has been a teacher all of her working life (history); she prefers high school. We’d both have sided with you in the tweeterment.

    Like

  2. Soul Gifts says:

    Although not a teacher, I don’t understand how you could be a good one without building relationships and caring for the students. Thinking back to my own school days, back in dim dark prehistory, I can remember the small handfull of teachers who left a lasting impression on me. There were those who deeply cared, and those who did not. My best grades and enjoyment came from the subjects where teachers connected with their students in meaningful, caring, respectful ways. One of my children had a terrible time all through high school, particularly with uncaring teachers who did not understand him. He failed the last year. This was a very thought provoking post.
    Thank you too for the follow of my blog – I really appreciate it 🙂

    Like

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