Who are teachers?

“Today’s topic…self-construction”

KRS-One **audio from 1vibe.net, April 22, 2008

7 months ago (though I just discovered it) Clay Burrell wrote On Leaving Teaching to Become a Teacher:

More and more I wonder: is school a good place for teachers who want to make a difference in the lives of their students, and to the future of the world? Is there a way to leave the daily farce of gradebooks, attendance sheets, tests, corporate and statist curriculum, homework assignments, grade-licking college careerist “students” (and parents), fear of parents and administrators, and fear of inconvenient socio-political truths – and at the same time, to make a far more meaningful impact on the lives of the young?

I’m thinking yes. I’m thinking, moreover, obviously. I’m not sure how much longer I want to work for schools. I’d so much rather teach.

Coinciding with that discovery was 2 others:

  • this video, reminding me of KRS-One’s moniker ‘The Teacher’.  (originally found here)
  • Jeff Wasserman‘s article from 1999, From Klezmer to Clerks, where he wrote:

    Everyone has a story, every individual and every culture.

    Tell yours.

    Tell it in words or in sounds or in images or squishy things to touch. Tell it to yourself, or tell it to others. Be creative and unafraid. You know what to do.

But really, there are no coincidences.

My mission as a teacher has to do with teasing out the stories, with helping people find their stories – the most positive ones they can.

Like Clay, I don’t think that teaching is relegated to the classroom. In fact most real content that affects peoples lives is not found in the classroom, it’s found in the experiences that make up each of our stories.

Example: KRS-One is truly a teacher. He inspires to create a positive story.

“Today’s topic – self-construction”

“… This is an opportunity for you to rise to your highest self. There it is.”

I’m not going to tell you his story, watch the video up top, and you’ll get an idea of where those quotes come from.

The point here, is that teachers are found all over.

So why do I choose to teach in the classroom?

Classroom teaching is a unique opportunity to help young people choose their direction and write their stories. It’s like living is research, and the classroom is the lab where we get to make sense of all that cool data.

My job has so much more to do with helping kids organize the information that comes at them (the stories of the world) in a way that makes sense for them, then it does with teaching them the stories of the world, and so much more than it does with “…gradebooks, attendance sheets, tests, corporate and statist curriculum, homework assignments, grade-licking college careerist “students” (and parents), fear of parents and administrators, and fear of inconvenient socio-political truths…”

Yeah, there’s some paperwork and politics. I keep my mind focused on student need and my core values of relationship and hope for the future, and the paperwork and politics don’t seem as important. Everything falls into place.

Cause this is what I am supposed to be doing.
It’s the best way I know to rise to my highest self, and to help others do the same.

That’s why I teach.

5 comments / Add your comment below

  1. I want to write something inspired by this, but in the interim, I’ll say that the classroom is the only place where the students have to seek you out, and not the other way around. Just kidding. I’ll write more soon. Good post, Ms. Rosen.

  2. And I want to read what you have to write.
    Clarification – do you mean that students are required to seek you out in the classroom or that it is the only venue available to students to do so?

  3. The world really is a school if we choose to let it be. Our students come to our classrooms and we have just a short time to make an impact upon their lives. We have the best of intentions and have to adapt in order to reach our students. I am so glad that you are “teasing out the stories” from your students. What a great way for them to express themselves. Thank you for this blog post. It is important to continue to let others know what our thoughts are related to education.

    Heidi Pences last blog post at http://hpence.blogspot.com..Why I chose to teach?

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