Sunday, November 4, 2007

What Is A Teacher?

Typed "What is a teacher?" into Google, and took the first five responses off the top.

A person whose occupation is teaching; a personified abstraction (Books were his teachers.)

To a mind of flint, the teacher must be iron, and strike sparks. To the empty pitcher, the teacher becomes a well...

The teacher is to the students what the rain is to the field. -Zaira Alexandra Rodriguez Guijarro, 11, (Mexico)

And - the all-important question -- Do you even like kids? And don't kid yourself (no pun intended): Taking your little brother to a baseball game one Saturday is nothing compared to trying to teach 25 screaming seventh-graders how to diagram a sentence. Think about it.

Teaching is like no other profession. As a teacher, you will wear many hats. You will, to name but of a few of the roles teachers assume in carrying out their duties, be a communicator, a disciplinarian, a conveyor of information, an evaluator, a classroom manager, a counselor, a member of many teams and groups, a decision-maker, a role-model, and a surrogate parent.

There are many different interpretations/ideas of what a teacher is. Some espouse the glory of an ideal. Make no mistake about it, the idea of a "teacher" is still revered, but those in the teaching profession have become much-maligned; sometimes justifiably so, sometimes not. People want to be taught. People want good teachers. People want teachers to be good.

Other interpretations are cautionary. You must love kids. You have to confront a stalled and static system, accept the salary, the Darwinian training, the administrative nonsense, the parental (and student) accusation or apathy, lack of resources, etc.

I'm fascinated by language, which is why I am an English teacher. Add three simple words to the question I initially posed, and you have a world of differences.

What is the role of a teacher? Once again, 5 off the top of a Google search.

If we want students to learn, we must show them how.

In my opinion teachers are the second mothers for the students because students spend a lot of time with their teachers.

The role of the teacher in literature-based instruction is one of decision maker, mentor, and coach.

Each of the six roles described (see Figure 1) can be subdivided into two roles, making a total of twelve roles. Roles to the right in the figure require more content expertise or knowledge, and roles to the left more educational expertise.

Preprofessional: The preprofessional teacher communicates and works cooperatively and [sic] families and colleagues to improve the educational experiences at the school. (One of the stranger videos I've seen in a while - RK)

It should be noted that the quoted portions of the websites above do not necessarily reflect my agreement with the statements or content. I just found them interesting. There is, certainly, a huge difference between not only the wording of the questions I posed, but also their interpretations.

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