Friday, February 20, 2015

Are Teachers Bosses, or Should Teachers Be Leaders?



The longer I teach, the more I realize and the easier it is to recognize how good teaching is not authoritative, but rather, collaborative. 

And I don't only mean that teachers should collaborate with each other (although I do believe that). I mean that teachers and students should collaborate. 

We, as teachers, should model how we can all help each other to develop ideas.

Furthermore, even though a teacher does need to control a classroom, I personally believe we "control" through mutual respect--and not through fear. 

I will never be compared to a dictator, and that's a good thing!

Just as the business meeting graphic above illustrates, I think teachers should be mostly operate from the right-hand side, the "Leader" side.

My classroom is a circular one; I conduct discussion groups, workshops, Socratic (though more informal than that) seminars.

It's the best way to learn, I think. It's how I learned in college. It's how, ideally, we should run life: a meeting of the minds, full of positive modeling, brainstorming, bouncing ideas off one another.

(I actually dislike work meetings, however. That's probably how students tend to feel most of the time--as if they are attending seven hours of boring meetings every day, 180 days a year).

The circular, informal, come-learn-at-my-kitchen-counter approach works for me because I am lucky to teach small classes. My students generally want to be there. I also adore working with teenagers because they are so funny, so honest, so refreshing--and yes, all of that helps me teach the way that I want to.

Still, I think we can all develop our teaching skills afresh at any time. 

It is never to late to change the way we do things. 

There is always hope; there is always a way back to re-discovering teaching and learning as the utopia it was meant to be.