#mschat 6-13-13 Celebrating a year of learning

Tonight chatter shared ideas that worked in their classrooms, the power of twitter and how it impacts their classrooms, tech tools that engage middle school students and goals for next year. Many good ideas in the chat.


[View the story “#mschat 6-13-13 Celebrating a year of learning” on Storify]

Why I Teach!

I was born the son of a teacher and doctor. My mother, the teacher, was always fostering learning for her 3 sons. She would constantly find activities to engage us. Frequent trips to the  zoo, museum, park and library were a large part of growing up. Dad, when around, also helped us develop a passion for learning. He would make sure to explain every step when fixing items around the house. He mandated our attendance when he worked on the car or boat, “So you know how to do it!” He always exclaimed when we issued complains.

As I grew older, all three of us developed a passion for figuring things out. This passion often end us up in trouble. I vividly remember, taking apart the lawn mower with my little brother one day because it wasn’t working. We thought we found the problem and put it back together. Then realized we hadn’t used all of the parts. When dad got home, we heard about the need for patience and value of questions. Surprisingly dad, took the time with us to make sure the lawnmower was fixed correctly. Not that we enjoyed the time taking it back apart, going to the store to get a schematic diagram to know where all the parts really belonged. Eventually dad even taught me to fly an airplane, since his grandfather taught him, when he was a teenager.

Unfortunately, my parents pasted away due to a tragic plan accident when I was 17 years old. Lucky for me, I was old enough to remember their teaching and modeling of learning. I remember my mother belong to a literary guild, attending monthly meetings and writing research papers. My father constantly learning new procedures for his medical practice. Turn the VCR on in our house growing up it was either a historic documentary or a medical training film.

My parents placed kindling on my educational career. After their passing, It took a few sparks to light the fire. First it was my grandmother. Seeing that I was not self-motivated. She force me to take an aptitude test. The results of which said I should go into a helping profession. Naturally, I resisted, like any teenager lost in life would do. In college, I ventured into classes that were easy, fun or I found interesting. I fell into a communications major with emphasis in video production. I graduated with not prospects of a job. I floundered around in sales and customer service positions. Finding no passion or satisfaction. About ten years after the aptitude testing, my grandmother brought it up again. This time the kindling started to glow.

As I returned to college, tackling another major, I felt the passion winds begin to blow. School this time had meaning. I did not care about fun, socializing or frat parties. I want to learn and fast. Each class my passion for becoming an educator grew. I remembered how my parents fostered my learning. I began to recall, how they also helped everyone around them learn. Mom would help anyone, at church, at home or at school. Dad stopped to answer every patients questions (party of why he was not home often).  I felt pleasure and joy in help others learn. Sure felt better than selling a person an item or fielding a complaint.

I teach to honor my parents. To share our collective love of learning with others. Teaching is about creating passionate learners. It is about help others find their passion. Making students become the teachers. Creating meaningful relationships between teacher, student and knowledge. I teach to pass along my love of learning and spark others fires.

The Job, nobody wants…Teaching

Last week I was perusing Facebook and noticed a post from a friend, Jim, that I felt needed a comment. The post had a picture of his computer on a table in the sun by a pool with the caption, “I love my job!” I snidely remarked, “Why don’t we trade for a day?” Jim’s response was typical, “I can’t handle my own kids for a day, so I will be turning that offer down.”

When ever anyone finds out that I am a teacher, first inquiry is what grade: “7th grade”. After hearing that I am a middle school teacher the second comment is “You must be a saint!”or “Rough age” or “I couldn’t do that”. It doesn’t matter who I encounter, this is the typical reaction. In fact it does not matter what level taught, this is the typical response.I love teaching middle school students and most teachers Do love TEACHING. So why do so many feel this way?

Sure different people have different desires and preferences for careers. Introverts prefer jobs with littler contact with others. Extroverts do well in sales and customer service fields. Some have scientific minds and do well in medicine and engineering. Financial minds work well in business and on Wall Street. Don’t we needed all of their expertise in education, teaching and modeling learning for students? 

Our schools are filled with all types of students with diverse learning styles. Education needs teachers that are just as diverse. To create a climate where ALL students can succeed, students need a teacher to connect with. Someone that has a similar learning style and preferences. Not just educators who “love teaching students and helping them learn.” (Although this helps!!)

Media reflects a society that feels teaching is “easy” with “summers off”. If this is so then you would think all schools would have flocks of highly qualified teachers. When in fact most school have difficultly finding more that 1 qualified candidate. 

Teaching is hard. It takes a unique passion for helping others and loving youth to be successful. IF society wants to create a better education system, then we better create a way to help more be passionate about being teachers!