Yesterday I bumped into someone I hadn’t seen for twenty years and she asked the predictable question: ‘ Are you still teaching?’ I am indeed. And still learning too.
To be fair, she probably visualises a classroom of the sort in which she learned, with a teacher standing at the front droning on, possibly delivering the same lesson as last year and the year before and the fifteen years prior to that. She wouldn’t even begin to understand how much teaching and learning have changed…
She could never imagine the sort of class where students compose raps and create movies to explain their understanding of photosynthesis. She would be amazed to hear that an ‘Aspergian’ student can investigate how Aspergers affects people and get feedback from educators all over the world. She would have no idea that classroom walls can be flattened either, so that learning about other cultures can be enriched by live interactions on Skype with people worldwide. The amount of choice students are given in order to encourage them to take responsibility for their own learning would stun her. Kids didn’t participate in discussions about the goals of education and the relevance of standardized tests, when she went to school!
But more than any of those things.. when she asks if I am still teaching, she cannot possibly have any idea how exciting it is to be part of a community of learners, constantly sharing practice, investigating ideas and exploring new tools to enhance and support our students’ learning. If only she could have attended our professional development day and seen the passion of teachers teaching teachers, she would know better than to ask her question in that slightly disdainful way ever again.