Sunday, January 2, 2011

Portraits of Teaching: Idealism Meets Reality

Meyers Brigg's personality profile describes the personality known as teacher as an idealist. I don't know if all of us in teaching fit into that box. My personality profile for one, was not the teacher, but in the dialogue that I opened up on this blog about how we, as teachers, view our craft I saw a theme of idealism and hope colored by difficult realities. You can read the full interviews with edubloggers below. I decided to sum it up with some quotes illustrating the hope that propels and the reality that startles.

Idealism and Hope:

"I CARE about how well my students do." --Mrs. Chilli

"That lightbulb moment - that moment when the student GETS IT - whether it is a concept in math or his/her worthiness as a human being." --Ricochet

"Almost everyone I know who is attracted to this profession did it because they care about others--specifically children." --Miss Understood

"I know I have something to give them that will help them get along in the world, something that will ease their way and make their lives richer and more productive."--Mrs. Chilli

"Exploring ideas. I love it, particularly when they're ideas I'm familiar with but I'm re-exploring them with people for whom they're new. My students help me see the material with fresh eyes." --Clix

"I went into teaching to help kids." --Ms. Teacher

"It matters to me that my kids are safe and well cared for." --Mrs. Chilli

"Those kids have personalities that defy description, and they are the ones who keep coming back to say hi... That's a bonus to the job." --Cupcake

"My students are the best thing about teaching... Its why I wanted to be a teacher and the reason why I continue to do it."--SmWonder00

"It matters to me that they be given the space they need to grow and change and to sometimes fall flat on their faces." --Mrs. Chilli

Hard Realities:

"No amount of skills, hard work, and caring spirit have a 100% success rate."--Ms. Understood

"Right now, it's all about passing tests, as opposed to showing growth." --Cupcake

"We are being othered. I hear ALL THE TIME that "everyone knows who the bad teachers are."... What people mean by this is that somewhere else, in some OTHER area, there are bad teachers who need to be fired." --Clix

"So, I've had to come to terms with the fact that sometimes I am not enough." --Ms. Understood

"I hold book fairs and bake sales and I beg my friends and family and the members of my community to give our school the things we need because we don’t have the money to buy them." --Mrs. Chilli

"When you can't be Superman, you are a disappointment."--Ms. Understood

"The emotional toll it takes on the teacher, trying to do the right thing by everybody: the student, the administration, the colleagues, the parents, the state, the teacher." --Ricochet

"I guess I expected that most everybody respected and liked teachers, so it's been a shock to find out how many people in the general public do not hold this same point of view." --Ms. Teacher

"I had no idea that I would have to deal with anything like that before I started teaching." --Ms. Understood

I don't usually explain the music I choose to accompany a post. Did you know I do that? I chose Juliana Theory's "Into the Darkness" to represent this post because in reading all the interviews I see the heroism in teaching. A good teacher is someone who acts on hope in the face of great challenges to that hope. Reality will come. Whatever age or subject you teach, it is the belief in possibilities that makes it worth it. Thanks to all who participated in my interview. May you find and bring hope in 2011!

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