Ryan C’s Place to Be

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How are teachers perceived by their peers

Posted by ryancas on June 14, 2008

Today I stumbled upon this post by Kyle Lichtenwald. In the post Kyle discusses the importance of “coolness” in the classroom, whether teachers should make an extra effort to be “cool” and connect with their students. He was then met by some criticism from Chad Brannon, who mistook what Kyle meant by the idea of being cool. It has since been resolved, and it is clear from comments by Chad that no harm was meant by the comments, but the fact remains that the comments were said.

The topic questions what a “real teacher” is, whether a sub should be considered a real teacher, or simply a space filler until the real thing can get back. Chad eventually sums up what a real teacher is by saying:

How do I define “real” teacher? One who does it day in and day out…basically, one who has to worry about the direction of the school, curriculum, the whole child and more. A sub usually does not go to meetings and contribute to the creative process of the direction of the school. There are many teachers at my school that are there everyday that don’t care about kids or the school. With that said, many of our subs do a better job than some of the “real” teachers.

At first read, I completely accepted that idea of a real teacher, but I’ve been thinking about and have some additions to his defintion. Yes, a real teacher has to have a vision of where the school, and the curriculum are headed. Yes, a real teacher needs to be actively involved in meetings to make the school environment a vibrant, positive place to be, and yes it is more difficult for subs to do this than tenured teachers. My thought is, where is the focus on the learner in this definition? He mentions worrying about the whole child briefly, and then moves back to meetings, and the curriculum. A “teacher” probably should not even be restricted to a classroom environment; teachers can be found everywhere in life… anywhere that a teachable situation can occur.

But, considering the name of the occupation, those in schools are generally considered the main teachers of society… as they should be. The “real” teachers that I have learned from in my life all shared a love for learning, and not just that of the student. I beleive it to be true that a teacher who stops learning, stops teaching. The most influential teachers of my past all had dynamic lives outside of the classroom that they were willing to bring into the classroom for us to share with them. We, as students, could see the struggles and achievements of their lives at the same time that they saw struggles and achievements in ours.

Putting this post into the context of that which it was inspired by: “Real” teachers and “cool” teachers are synonymous. Real teachers bring their lives into their work. Cool teachers are able to connect to students because the students appreciate teachers who will let their guard down, be wrong, be vulnerable and experience the classroom as a learner alongside of the students.

I hope that I can move towards becoming a Real Cool Teacher in the years to come, and yes I realize that that statement is the least “cool” thing I could have said. I’m fine with that!

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One Response to “How are teachers perceived by their peers”

  1. Corinne said

    I find the topic of what a “real” teacher is interesting. I like the point you made about how the real teachers, to you, are the ones who share a love of learning and care about the students. I also share the same view of teachers. But also, I have learned so many important things from people who are not teachers. I think everybody is a teacher. There are some people who have positive influences in our lives and some who have negative influences in our lives but I think we are constantly learning from ALL the people in our lives. I don’t really like the term “real” teacher because everyone is a teacher- good or bad they are all “real”. I think a good school teacher is someone who strives to help EVERYONE learn and finds the positive in students and communicates it to them- sounds a bit oprahish doesn’t it:)…

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