That chance to have such a positive influence on children’s lives which can’t be duplicated exactly but which each of must discover on our own.
Later I had a chance to watch the video on mobile computing that Thomas Whitby shared on the PLN Ning and I was further filled with those strong emotions that help me to feel that I can’t imagine being anywhere else right now but a teacher in the classroom.
At the same time I sometimes wonder if I need to diminish these feelings. Maybe I shouldn’t be feeling this way of unmitigated happiness, that there are teachers struggling with the most basic of needs both for their classroom and their students. A nagging sense of “I took the easy way out” when I had finished the teacher’s training program and went to a suburban school sometimes creeps in. But I’ve always had the belief that being older when I received my teaching credential I was going to focus on becoming a good teacher rather than tolerate the low pay, low morale, and chaos that teachers in my program talked about experiencing first hand when they were at some inner-city school. I actually enjoyed my student teaching in some of the tougher schools in San Francisco, but when I surveyed the teachers at one of the “better” schools, everyone of them said if they had to do it over again that they would never work in that district. I had been working so long in the financial district at law firms and been around cynical, burned out adults that I knew even though I was going to be in the classroom I wanted my collegues to have an optimism and zeal to match my feelings for my new career that I was embarking on. So I searched elsewhere in the Bay Area and came to where I am at now. And I really have a firm belief that this should be the best of times to be a teacher and in the classroom, but for many it doesn’t appear to be the case. We have at our disposal the most innovative, transformative tools ever. My students can transport themselves so easily outside the classroom and so much of what the internet is about is learning. Its genesis afterall had to do with sharing information and research. Everyday there is some new bit of research and tools which help us accomplish and clarify our goals. And for many of us we are reaching a point where the technology is becoming transparent to the goals of collaboration and building a community of learning and sharing outside the classroom. Our students connect, are engaged, and I can see the relevancy of activities to by the passion which they pursue them.
Why people become teachers is not something anyone can always answer quickly, but for myself I remember a transformative moment when I was reading Antione de Saint Exupery and his book Wind, Sand, and Stars as he rode with a group of dead to the world middle aged men on an omnibus as he was going to the airport to transport the mail in the stary night. I knew then that I could make a difference, that I in my naive understanding of the teaching profession mattered.
And this sense of making a positive difference the:
is so key to how not only we make our students feel as Michael Soskil recently posted about, but also how we feel about ourselves and our relationship to teaching that Angela Maiers has written a manifesto about. It is so insistent, not vague or unclear, but strident and mandatory. I wish that I could reach out to every teacher whose lost that sense because no one has reminded them of the incredible i
mportance and relevance of what they do. And perhaps this need is the most relevant arguement yet to helping teachers losing their hope to create their support, their network of nurturing and nourishment, their own PLN.