Friday, February 22, 2013

Reflection on teaching and teachers

How hard is teaching?

Lee Shulman described teaching this way:

"Classroom teaching is the most complex, most challenging, and most demanding, subtle, nuanced, and frightening activity that our species has ever invented. The only time a physician could possible encounter a situation of such complexity would be in the emergency room after a natural disaster."

We live in a time when teachers are put under a microscope.

Students aren't learning the critics say.

Teachers are overpaid the critics say.

Teaching isn't all that hard the critics say.

The critics have never been in a classroom looking into the faces of twenty-five young people who are looking back into your eyes.

Those young people are at times eager, surly, curious, engaged, bored, disappointed, frustrated, sleepy, excited, distracted, anxious, happy, focused.

And the expectation is that the teacher can keep all of them pointed in the same direction.

I understand that at times teachers do not live up to the expectations that we have of them. We have all been disappointed by a teacher.

But let's agree that teaching is difficult and teachers, the vast majority of the time, do wonderful things.

Teaching is not for the faint-hearted. Let us continue to support the great work they do to help our students every day.

1 comment:

  1. Dr. Matthews,

    I have been following your blog for a few months now and today I finally subscribed and am now commenting (which is weird why you are not getting more comments on your posts). As a former teacher before moving over to the dark side of corporate America:) I really appreciated this post of yours. Teaching was a wonderful but very challenging job. Its a shame they are not better supported and recognized.