Monday, April 14, 2014

Why teaching is difficult

Bryce Harper was (is) a can't miss prospect.

At 16 he was on the cover of Sports Illustrated.

Bryce Harper, Baseball, Las Vegas Wildcats

He left high school early so he could get to college to accelerate being drafted.

He was the number one draft pick in Major League Baseball's 2010 amateur draft.

He signed a multi-million dollar contract. Less than two years later he was a regular in the outfield for the Washington Nationals.

He was the youngest position player ever selected for the MLB All-star game.

Yet at the beginning of the 2014 regular season, just days ago, he said, "I'm pretty lost right now."

Bryce Harper has all the tools. He trains relentlessly. His whole life it seems has been devoted to becoming a great baseball player.

He just spent six weeks in spring training getting ready for the season. And yet, he feels lost!

Imagine, if you will, if Bryce Harper had to worry about 23 kindergarten students or 27 8th graders or 25 high school seniors?

Bryce Harper has to worry about himself. His success is connected to the other players on the field but ultimately he is judged by how well he does. He can be an All-star even if his team is not successful.

But teachers. Sure they have to worry about what they do.

Are my lessons plans good? Am I using the right strategies? Do I know my content? Do I know the answers to these questions? Can I connect the lesson to real life? How much time should this lesson take?

Teachers also have to worry about their students.

How is Joe feeling today? I know Robert gets lost some times so how can I make sure he keeps up? Jan's dog died yesterday - how will that impact her mood today? Tim had a tough time on the bus - how can I get him refocused on school? Bob knows this really well but Tracey struggles - how can I keep them both interested and moving ahead?

In addition, teachers have to worry about school.

When is the fire drill? What happens if an intruder gets in the building? When can I call Steve's parents? There is an assembly today - how can I modify my lesson?

I know baseball is a difficult and demanding game. But teaching - now that's a challenging career!

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