Teachers as Students…

The saying goes that doctors make the worst patients and follows with teachers make the worst students.  I’ve been that student.  I know.  I have high expectations of those that teach me and I disengage rather quickly.

I am in the middle of leading some Moodle training to a group of local high school teachers.  I knew going in that this would be a tough group, but at this point in time I am mostly disappointed.

I understand teaching all day and then coming to a training session that lasts until 6:30 pm is draining.  I understand the laws that have been passed and repealed that affect teacher bonuses and course requirements.  I understand that dealing with teenagers all day can make you irritable.  I understand the wide range of technological skills in the room means that some of the training is either above or below what someone may need at that moment.

What I don’t understand is the disrespect.

One of the best principals I worked with was at River School.  Everyone was a person first, then followed by title (student, teacher, parent, volunteer, principal, etc.).  This created a unique community and a perspective that has stayed with me.  I have found that many issues are much easier to resolve when I remember to see the “other” as a person, first.  So what does this have to do with disrespect and teaching teachers…

Regardless of the demands of administration, state and local school boards, parents, etc. I approached this opportunity with excitement.  I love teaching and I love sharing what I have learned about online and blended courses – as a teacher, an instructional designer and as a student.  I knew that my “class” would be difficult, but I was determined to work with the teaches, modify my plan as needed and look at everyone as a person, first.

Due to the problems of communication, I came into the first session with some false assumptions.  I quickly realized that what I had planned was not going to work and had to modify my content plan on the fly.  However, there were also some assumptions that … well, I was disappointed when they were found to be false.

  • I assumed that we were all professional adults.
  • I assumed that  my “students” would listen at the beginning before deciding not to participate.
  • I assumed that I would not have to reprimand my “students” for playing games on their ipad. (Not that I did reprimand, but the playing was obvious.)
  • I assumed that as teachers, the clarifying of objectives and modeling good teaching would be recognized.
  • I assumed that I would not have to yell, or significantly raise my voice, to get people’s attention.
  • I assumed that questions would be asked.
  • I assumed that I would not have to repeat myself more than three times (three is my standard – if I’ve provided the information three times/ways, I feel I’ve done my part.)
  • I assumed that the second and third session would be better.

I try to be an optimist and weigh all the factors that a teacher has to deal with together, but when a co-worker comments at the appalling participation and expresses concerns for the children being taught by these teachers, it is disheartening.

There are so many things wrong in education and so many people complaining about the teachers… I don’t want to add to that mess.  However, more professionalism needs to be present, or at the very least the idea of seeing others as people first and the respect that entails needs to reach across communities.

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