Sunday, June 8, 2014

Our Way isn't the Best Way

Who are we, as teachers, (or anyone for that matter) to judge each other? I admit it.. I do it too, so before anyone thinks I am standing on a soapbox claiming to be beyond this, I am writing as much for my own reminding as anyone else.

I happened to see a tweet yesterday that got me thinking:  it was something about waiting for others to come around to “our way” of teaching.

As is often the case with tweets, this one got me thinking.

Teaching is an intensely personal transaction, so why do we arrogantly assume that if others don’t teach like us, they are further down the path to success?

Instead of trying to sell our egocentric ideal approach, what if we simply invited others to ponder two simple questions:

How well do you know your students and what they need?
How is your approach and agenda meeting those needs?

Maybe in this process, we should also step back and take the time to reflect on our own way. Perhaps we’ve been starstruck and blindsided by the edu-star syndrome, buying into what others with lots of Twitter followers think. Maybe when others offer us praise on social media, we fall for the idea that we have “arrived” at our perfect way of teaching. I get it..totally.

I am going to state the obvious: there is no perfect way. What works today, in this particular class, may not work for our class next week. Teaching is an art, a fluid dance…and it should be, because the complex little (or not so little) people that arrive in our rooms deserve an environment that responds to them, that helps shape them, that gives them messages that when we work hard, we can learn. 

What students end up believing they can or cannot do might just be the most important transaction of all.

So how do we inspire others, and ourselves, to continuously reflect on the interactions with the most important people in the room? How do we keep adjusting and accommodating in a system that seems to love its, "that's how it's always been," mentality?


Tech with Jen said...

I think we are just so passionate about our philosophies we forget we are teaching human beings. Love your posts!

Tracy Watanabe said...

Hi Joan!

Powerful post! I think it takes a rather secure person to listen to where others are, consider, ponder what can be learned from this, and then think about what's best for those we work with.

Building relationships and listening, truly listening, helps guide those interactions.

As Tech with Jen said above, we are so passionate about making a difference that it hinders our ability to see that others are going the same direction, just perhaps on a different route... but that route makes more sense from where they are currently standing.

Kind regards,

Joan Young (aka Mancini) said...

Thank you both, Jen and Tracy for commenting. Sorry for the slow reply!
Great point Jen about our passion taking over!

Tracy, I always think a bit deeper after reading your comments. I love this line, "Building relationships and listening, truly listening, helps guide those interactions."

Thanks for taking the time to enrich my thinking.

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