I did the inevitable today: I marked all of the posts in my Reader account as “read” without first checking them. It’s been too crazy over the last few weeks, and my daily ability to plow through posts has simply not been in the cards lately. We all have done it, I am sure, but this was my first, and I can’t help but feel like a loser. Nevertheless, I have been thinking…
Most of my posts lately have had to do with this idea of a virtual school, and this one is slightly about that topic, but more about just plain teaching. I met up with my colleague/superior/sounding board the other day to play a little intellectual ping-pong regarding what we need to have happen for this virtual school to become a reality. Among the zillion things that we elaborated on, the most influential point came when we began imagining the staff that we wanted for these classes. It felt like a flashbulb when he said it, and I don’t think he knew what he said: “We need teachers that are performance-driven.” What that translated as to me, is that we were looking for the teacher that transcended the bureaucracy that often plagues the public school system, the myriad forms of student malaise, and really got into the faces of students intellectually. I got more and more excited as I thought about what types of teachers we needed; teachers that thrived on chaos, that were reflective in times of high levels of uncertainty, and that were always, regardless of popular opinion, willing to reinvent themselves for the sake of learning.
The more I thought about this type of teacher, the more in line with everything we read and write about became meaningful. The examples we can pull from our blogrolls? Clarence Fisher, Konrad Glogowski, Vickie Davis, Cheryl Oakes, Clay Burell, etc. How easy is it to not change, to rail against all of the pressures, standards, national and state assessments, and not look for something better? Very.
Teaching will be different, and this will happen very soon. Teaching will require that we are risk-takers, savvy, and cavalier. Teaching will be different, or it will be irrelevant.