No idea – a post to read

Lately, largely thanks to dy/dan, I've been coming across blogs of young teachers who are expressing what they are doing in their classrooms and the anxiety they feel about the profession. Todd Seal is one of these young teachers who I have added to my Google reader. He has written a post called 'No idea' and begins it with these lines;

"I have no idea what I’m doing. No idea.

When I close that door, I’m on my own. I’ve got fifty-three minutes with a group of thirty kids who want entertainment if they want anything. I need to take those kids wherever they are and help them improve by the time they walk out the door. I need to give them at least one new idea today and one reason to come back tomorrow.

I have no idea what I’m doing."

You must read this post. I think he articulates what a lot of teachers feel but don't express. In teaching, it seems, there's always the pressure of having to be the expert and not admit how you feel when you are up against it. Here is my reply that I left in the comment thread;

"What you’ve articulated is what I think on a daily basis and I’ve been teaching for over 20 years. And you know what, I think thinking these thoughts makes me a better teacher and I bet it does for you too. I knew long ago I was not the world’s best expert in my subject matter and it used to make me feel not up to the task. Like you I searched for new ideas, the best material, innovation, etc etc. I still do that, but I’ve learnt something else along the way. I’ve learnt that it’s the climate I establish in the classroom, the tone, the respect I extend to my students, the interest I take in them as people, that is fundamental in my success as a teacher. We still do the work, we still push ourselves and learn but we do that together. They recognise that in large part I am learning with them too. Never a day goes by when I don’t take something away that I have learnt from a student. Teachers like you who actually question what it is they are doing are the teachers who need to stay in classrooms."
I'm loving discovering new young voices sharing their thoughts about teaching. Take a look at Todd's blog.

Posted by email from jennyluca’s posterous

3 Replies to “No idea – a post to read”

  1. I really appreciate you steering me to that blog. Here is the comment I left: “Thanks for sharing this! I have felt this way many times over 28 years. I think that is what makes a good teacher because when you stop questioning what you are doing, you don’t care anymore. I’ve seen too many teachers just biding time until they retire. Just that you worry about this, means that you care and you are constantly searching for things to be better for your students. I really had to find the relevance to my students with what I was doing and that helped them understand why we were doing something. If I couldn’t show relevance, I really shouldn’t be doing it. You were given the gift to teach and sometimes you just have to have faith that you can do it. It is this faith that gets you through the tough times. When former students come up to you (and they will, believe me) to tell you that you made an impact on their life, you will know it was all worth it. “

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