Bringing Passion, Creativity, Questions, and Technology into My Classroom
You have to admire these artists. I have no idea how long they have practiced their craft, but I am sure that they’ve been working hard at honing, developing, and pushing their skills for a long time. They must maintain concentration on their craft in front of an audience whose attention they must work to maintain all while being aware of the other performers on stage and listening to the rhythmic drumming behind them.
To me, teaching is much like this. I’m expected to teach French but know it’s not just about the content. I have to be aware of students social/emotional needs while keeping a close check on my own. I am expected to engage, inspire, discipline, instruct, mentor, manage, and love my students—to do what it takes to get them to learn irrespective of my contracted hours. We must reach out to parents and communities, engage in professional development, support school improvement goals, infuse state standards in instruction, keep up with technology, infuse technology into instruction, individualize instruction, be aware of allergies, and assisting in the crafting and support of the exigencies of Individualized Education Plans, students, parents/guardians, administrators, communities, and policy makers… not all of whom respect or even value what you do. Teachers are expected to do all of this and more while supposedly balancing a personal life and family and try to maintain your health and sanity!
As Friedman (2013) wrote, “The winners won’t just be those with more I.Q. It will also be those with more P.Q. (passion quotient) and C.Q. (curiosity quotient) to leverage all the new digital tools to not just find a job, but to invent one or reinvent one, and to not just learn but to relearn for a lifetime.” Friedman’s words help to underline the wicked complexities of life and what it means to be a teacher and a learner in the 21st century. I frequently ask myself how I am supposed to accomplish it all. During this course, we were encouraged to tackle just such wickedly difficult issues by engaging in a questioning process based on Berger’s (2014) work. The results lead me to some interesting revelations.
The first question that popped into my head was, “Why aren’t I the teacher I want to be?” This surprised me, but then I started thinking about all of those demands placed on teachers that I mentioned previously. I realized how stressed and anxious I’ve been lately just trying to be the teacher that my students need me to be while worrying about keeping all the other folks vested in education happy. This lead me to wonder, “What if I weren’t anxious?” Eventually, I arrived at the following questions: “Who am I as a teacher now?” and “How would this change if I could stop fretting over peripheral matters and just focus on having the best French classes ever?” Admittedly, that might be lofty, but I believe in shooting for the moon!
I’ve included an infographic here that I hope sheds more light on these questions. Please keep in mind that, in the spirit of Berger (2014), what may appear to be answers are only stepping stones to more questions.
Please, click the following link:
Berger, W. (2014). A more beautiful question: the power of inquiry to spark breakthrough ideas (1st ed.). New York: Bloomsbury Publishing.