One of the administrators in my school likes to ask questions to help teachers think about student-engagement. Those questions are:
What do we want kids to learn?
How do we know they know it?
How will we know they don’t know it?
How do we help those who don’t know it, know it?
The easy comparison is asking these questions about our kids but I want to challenge myself, and instead, ask them about myself:
What does it mean to be a man?
How will I know that I am?
How will I know that I am not?
How do I help myself become a man, if I am not?
I cannot assume that the ONLY thing my students learn from me is the content area or the skills written on the board. As a male teacher, and a dad, there is something that I believe and try to practice: Teaching doesn’t happen ONLY inside the classroom, and the Dadhood doesn’t effect ONLY my kids. I understand that I am a teacher, but I think I am more than that, as we all should. Ideally, I would empathize with, and have compassion for my students as i would my own kids. This may be easier for me as a Special Education teacher (considering the things that happen in my class), but the ideal remains the same for all who call themselves educators. In the same way it takes a village to raise a child, it also takes a community of educators to create a WHOLE human being who is prepared and ready to contribute to society.
Now, am I able to live up to my own ideal? Well, there are days when I feel like I am a student in life and I’ve either showed up to class and am giving a report, but I forgot my pants, or it’s the day of the Final Exam and I thought it was tomorrow, and can’t find a pencil. Then there are days when I walk out of a pop quiz and I’ve just killed it… and the extra credit. There are few days when I feel 100% prepared for what is coming at me. As a husband, as a dad, as a teacher, I am sometimes on top of things, and the rest of the time I am just acting like I am. But tomorrow is a new day, and with a fresh cup of coffee in my hand when that first bell rings, I have to be willing to give it another go.