A Path Not Taken – Finally Begins

I am a teacher.  I sometimes have to remind myself amid the sometimes conflicting desires in my life.  I  began my teaching career hating all the iconic teacher emblems of apples and cutesy chalkboards.  I was perceiving something demeaning in the symbols.  In my undergraduate teacher preparation courses I had an instructor share the saying “Those that can do, those that can’t teach and those that can’t teach – teach teachers.”  I do not even recall that teacher’s name nor any other content of the course.  (I’m sure I learned something, but I cannot connect it to that course.)  So perhaps my aversion came from many messages that teaching was a sub-par profession.

This message comes to me recently in recent article on the Chief Learning Officer website Why Do We Teach? While the article’s purpose is to try to encourage organizations to appreciate and value their learning and development professionals, the taglines send the age old message that teachers are not good enough to do anything else.  “Training professionals are rarely seen as the most essential, powerful or highly regarded employees, So why do good people do this job?”  Or rather why do good people choose this when they could be doing do much more.  I was looking for the solution on how we, as teachers can create a better image and promote a more positive attitude.  The article was in the end hollow sounding suggestions for people above the teaching profession.

I have taken many paths and explored many options in my life, but I keep coming back to the same one – I am a teacher.  I began my career teaching French at the High School level.  I loved teaching a foreign language.  I loved engaging the students and bringing something into their lives that was not easily accessible.  But French was not my true love.  I moved on to incorporating technology into teaching.  I managed labs, taught computer skills to children and adults.  But I did not truly love computers nor technology.  I went on to teach science and math.  Math was a true adventure having only the math classes my Chemistry minor required.  What I learned from that adventure was that I could teach math, even if I wasn’t the “expert” mathematician many thought I needed to be.  I continued my career in a variety of other teaching experiences and eventually came to the decision to further my own education.

Tomorrow I become a student again, beginning with a class on statistics.  I am looking forward to the learning, but from my experience in completing my MA degree, I have a better understanding of the road that lies ahead.  Working full time and going to school is not an easy task.  I was supposed to begin this journey last year, but due to budget cuts we had to wait until this year.  Hopefully at the end of my PhD program in Instructional Design I can better use the teacher in me and the teacher in me can be better heard.

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2 Responses to A Path Not Taken – Finally Begins

  1. Jennifer says:

    I’m not a teacher but I understand your sentiment of being one because I love teaching too. That’s the reason why my research area has been around social computing in teaching and learning, though professionally I’m not in education field. I strongly believe we can create a better future for teaching and learning and I really want to make it happen.

    All the best for you in starting your PhD journey.

    • lkidder says:

      Thank you Jennifer! You say you are not a teacher and yet you very much are a teacher. You may not have a classroom, but with your research in teaching and learning you will hopefully teach others what you have learned. I left the public school classroom in 2007, but constantly find myself “teaching” in one on one contacts, with my student workers, with colleagues and in other contexts. There are many opportunities to teach and learn – I wish people would step back and embrace learning as a constant in a good life.

      Good luck with your writing!

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