Tuesday, May 5, 2015


For those of us who find the jamming together of hashtag words annoying, this is not a blog about teachin' GIs. It's a blog about what teaching is.

And you could define teaching in the way that Michelangelo talked about sculpting David. He said he chipped away at everything that didn't look like David. Michelangelo was a smart-alec.

Teaching (at least to me) is not getting kids to all produce the same outcomes. It's not everybody reading the same things, doing the same math problems, and writing nearly identical 5 paragraph essays, complete with a grabber, supporting evidence, and support for your support. Teaching is not creating compliance, and mindless rule following. Teaching is not dictating with fear or prizes. These things belong to Teaching's less interesting cousin, Training. Training gets students ready for specific jobs. Training leads to people who aren't necessarily good citizens, and who can't keep up a good conversation at a party. Teaching gets students ready for life.

Teaching says that you're learning skills to apply them to new problems. Teaching recognizes that identifying a need, choosing a solution, and applying a plan are more important than being able to recite knowledge. Teaching recognizes that we all have different gifts and areas of interest. It says that we do our best when we work together so the artistic hearted person pairs up with the scientist to create reports that reflect truth and beauty at the same time. Teaching is about exploration - boundless learning, based in both need and inherent interest. Teaching is about creation, to solve problems, to share our learning, and to express what is in our heart, clawing to get out. Teaching is about collaboration, both because we can't all be good at everything, and because the synergy of a team effort is often amazing.

And that's what #teachingis to me, Charlie Brown.

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