Saturday, July 2, 2011

Virtual Conference on Core Values: I betcha think this post is about you

Well you're wrong. This post is not about you. It's not about my school. It's not about my students. When Riley asked, "What is at the center of your classroom?" I had a simple response—me. Me me me me me. Me. This post is about me.

I'm not ashamed to admit it. I have needs.

I need to feel competent.

I need to feel like I'm getting better.

I need to feel respected.

Most of all, I need to feel like I matter.

I'm not good at my job every minute of every day. I'm solidly mediocre most of the time and downright terrible more often than I'd like. However, every so often I am precisely what a student needs. At that exact moment, at that exact place, with that exact student, there's nobody in the world that should be there but me. I peer over a shoulder and ask the perfect question to get a student unstuck. I hear a response and we perform an experiment that suddenly connects a month of disparate facts.

I crack a joke at my own expense and the two boys who were going to fight, instead laugh at me and we spend the next few minutes playing the dozens.

I sit with a student long after the bell has rung while she tells me about her mother being deported. She is scared, but not for her mom. She's scared because she doesn't think she can be a good enough mother for her little brothers and sisters.

Am I really the perfect person for that moment? I don't know. What I do know is I believe it and that belief is what pushes me.

And that's where the Ed Reformers miss the point. Maybe a computer can teach the Periodic Table better than I can. Maybe a scripted curriculum will fill the holes in my astronomy unit. But they're telling me that anyone can turn on the computer and anyone can read the script. They're telling me that I don't matter. Most of the time, they're right. Most of the time, you could switch me out for anyone and not much would change. But for brief intersections of time and space, I matter more than all the youtube videos and core standards in the world. My classroom is about me. When it stops being about me, they'll need to find someone else to push the Play button.

Read more at the Conference Center.