Wednesday, October 1, 2014

How have you changed as an educator?

Day 29 of the +TeachThought blogging challenge

"Teaching is about making some kind of dent in the world so that the world is different than it was before you practiced your craft."  Brookfield

A few years ago I read this quote and it sums up for me, what I hope I have done and will continue to do for many years.

I'm not sure that I have changed greatly as an educator but much more as a leader. I have always viewed learning and teaching as a shared partnership and have never shied away from learning from and with my students and colleagues.  I hope that is even more obvious now.  I know that my ability to question to encourage deeper thinking and further questioning has greatly improved over the years - and will sometimes drive the students crazy, (but they love it and ask even more questions!)

I know the workload has changed but I've become more efficient for the sake of my students' learning, and my own.  Yes, at times, I've wondered if there is another career out there that would be 'easier' and yes, there probably are but when you are forced to take time out from what you know so well and love so much, it makes you doubly determined to return to it.  That will never change!

I have always loved technology and the opportunities it offers for learning but I am now more discerning in the tools the students and I use.  We all must be able to articulate the impact a particular tool has on learning before we can justify using it.  I hope that's a skill I'm continuing to pass on to my students.

I think the biggest area in which I've changed as a teacher is as a leader.  I've made mistakes along the way, tried to do everything myself but that is the biggest mistake, and is often unintentional as you believe you are helping others, or that it's your responsibility because you are in a particular role and being paid to fill that role, when you're actually doing anything but.  You need to look for the learning and leadership opportunities in and for your colleagues, just as you do with your students.  Collaboration is key and it makes you a better teacher, leader and learner.  The biggest joy I get now is when I hand over control of a project - just as I would with my students - to a colleague and see them shine in their role and teach me so much.  Loosening the grip of perfectionism has so many powerful benefits.  My work on communities of practice has taught me this and I'm grateful for the lesson and the change.


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