Recently, this tweet came up on my feed.
Teachers join the profession because they have a deep academic love of their subject. How can you teach before having studied it in depth?
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.
Some enter into teaching for the love of people and building relationships 😉
— Zach Groshell, M.Ed (@MrZachG)
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:
@MrZachG that isn’t our job though…
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:
- 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.
- 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.
@MrZachG Don’t think I disagreed. Merely pointed out we are not paid for relationship building and loving people.
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. .
Just looked at my contract, and 3 and out of 7 professional responsibilities had to do with building relationships.
— Zach Groshell, M.Ed (@MrZachG)
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:
@MrZachG Ok. YOU WIN. Happy?
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.