I’m just back from an extra long weekend at the cottage with my family. I love that all of my kiddies still look forward to going (even though internet connection is sketchy at best!) despite their busy lives. One of our favourite holiday games is “Top 5…” Sometimes it is something as mundane as Top 5 Beaches we’ve been to. Other times it is a little more bizarre, such as the memorable Top game of “Top 5 foods you have eaten off the ground”. (I declined to participate in this one, just so you know).
During some quiet beach time, I got to thinking about education. I am, if I go by my pension date, about halfway through my career in education. Why haven’t I ever done my Top list about being an educator? If you read my previous blog post, I have had a difficult year, but I am still looking forward to going back to school this fall. Why is that?
So, based upon some lake-side reflection, and at the danger of sounding like Julie Andrews (no kittens or raindrops in my list, though), here is my Top 5 List about Why I Love Being An Educator.
5. The Perfect Blend of Collegiality and Autonomous Learning. It seems to me that educators are very lucky to have opportunities to learn new things on our own based on our interests and experiences, but also to learn with a group of colleagues and be able to test out and use both sets of new ideas. While I haven’t always been a fan of mandated learning, I do love the buzz in a school when you have several people working towards common goals and seeing each other try things out and succeed. But I also love the vibe that individuals bring in when they bring their own passions and share them with their students and colleagues. Seriously, how lucky are we?
4. Boldly Learning Where None of Your Thoughts Have Gone Before. Five years ago, my focus of learning was all curriculum-based. Now, I am more likely to be trying to figure out how to develop student self regulation skills, or how to get students to think deeply and divergently. I wonder what I’ll be focusing on in another five years?
3. We Get to Play in Many Sandboxes. This one may not be as true for secondary educators, but isn’t it exciting that we get to go to work every day and: do math, share our favourite books, inspire young authors, teach a new playground game, dabble in the arts, and wonder about our connections to history and geography? All in the same day?
2. Talk About Contributing Members of Society. When you think about the different layers of our work, educators find so many ways to contribute to the betterment of our world. Sure, we teach young minds and prepare them for life but we also support parents and families to make connections between education today and their child’s needs. We connect children and their families to resources they might desperately need like social work or special education modifications and resources. We provide opportunities at school that students might not get at home, whether that is the chance to try their hand at coding or sculpting or knowing what it feels like to be part of a basketball team or to organize a charitable donation activity to learn how to give back to others.
1. The Students (and if this isn’t in some way your number one answer too, you probably shouldn’t be an educator). How amazing is it when you can actually see that moment when a student: 1) masters a new idea, 2) has a skill breakthrough, 3) wonders something so far out of your frame of reference it blows your mind, 4) shows you glimpses of the amazing contributing member of of society he/she is destined to become, 5) realizes that he/she is important.
Again. How lucky are we? What is your Top 5 list about being an educator?