Saturday, February 13, 2010

Redefining the Mission/Why I Love to Teach

Well, Spot, here we go again. It's budget season, and the budgeteers have come again this year, scissors in hand. They want to cut the fat out of the school budget. When teachers get cut...they're making their incision right into the bone. Ouch! Sorry, Spot, but it's true. Then there's talk of "moth-balling" a school! I think about all the places in the world where they're just dying to build schools, and my hometown has one person who pops up with the brilliant idea that saving money is more important than the children and the educational programs that inhabit that school. I hope this idea doesn't catch on, shortsightedness, like mothballs, costs money too.

So, instead of going on and on, and getting all fired up on that topic, I've decided to shake off the budget blues and get back to basics, to redefine the mission in five short lessons. Two years ago, I went away to Charleston to become a certified trainer for a wonderful program called Time to Teach, a part of the Center for Teacher Effectiveness. I loved it, Spot. And ever since then...I haven't done one thing to market myself to be a trainer...mostly because I can't seem to get myself out from under to do it. But...I live the ideals of the program, and it works inside my classroom. I never have a day where the kids really get to me. They need time to learn and I need time to teach. We're in the groove.

Time to Teach makes the "Oldie, but Goodie Teacher" as well as the "Wet-Behind-the-Ears Teacher" do the same darn thing. Identify their ideals. The first question on the table is: why did you come into this profession anyway? You see, Spot, teaching is all about pacing and planning. You need to have the time to clear your brain and see the forest instead of those squirrelly trees in front of you.

Why did I come into teaching? I absolutely LOVE working with kids. It suits my personality, because I am still a kid at heart. AND...despite the fact that I did love my teachers all those long years ago, I was never a good fit for that model. I'm a right-brained creative type...linguistic. Hah! Love that part...because you and I both know, I sure can talk. But now? I'd rather just put my words on the page, and let the kids talk. I live for their stories. Time to Teach made me think...if I really love kids, then what the heck am I doing at the pulpit--I was redoing what was done to me, which distanced me from my kids. Next time, Spot, I'll tell you a little story about Ruiz the Rebel and the great conversation we had the other day. I'll also talk about my ideal school.

But for now, I'd like to hear from my teacher friends out there...either on Facebook, or on Teach Spot--why did you come into the field of teaching? And...why do you stay?

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