First things first- the job description. This can be worded in such a way as to make it sound like your dream job. It is usually pretty vague to allow for additional responsibilities some may not have been dreamed up yet. Yes I understand that it would be impossible to outline every aspect of a job in a manageable size document. I present the concept to illustrate the point that as educators we are not prepared for what really constitutes the position of a professional educator.
What is expected of an educator? At least what they train us for.
Educators, as we progress through the official training programs, are taught to focus on content mastery, classroom management, assessment, pedagogy, and curriculum. We take courses that emphasize the concept that all children are different and learn differently so we must differentiate and scaffold. Yet we are also told that STANDARDIZED TESTING, those tests that treat all students exactly the same are a great measure of student knowledge and growth. I hope you see the irony of this. We add more tests each year. Teachers must now be experts in data analysis and interpretation. They must use this new data to differentiate lessons for each student, connect to the common core, improve test scores and not leave a single child behind. High stakes testing can keep you awake at night, but hopefully your focus is on creating experiences for your students, preparing them for the WORLD beyond and not test prep.
Teachers fill many roles beyond the purveyor of knowledge. Teachers are no longer expected to be the sage on the stage, the omniscient being in the room. Content knowledge is not the most important role of a teacher. This seems contrary to the training I received as I prepared to become an educator. Teachers in training were told don't smile until December. Classroom management is most important, and don't get too personal with your students.
The Hidden Expectations of Educators!
I have to admit I blindly followed some of the advice those older teachers had given me and laid down the law with my students early in my career. I thought if students obeyed they were learning. I fortunately saw the light, which is why I am able to write about the hidden expectations for teachers.
Parents entrust us with their children for the majority of that child's day. Parents expect us to educate their child, to teach them the subject matter, but also to assist them in learning manners and social skills. I am a parent, and I find myself expecting my children's teacher to help them learn skills beyond the curriculum. I want my children to be safe, secure, happy, engaged, challenged, cared for and appreciated.
Teachers are expected to play many roles often go beyond what was ever described in educational training or any job description
Teachers are Role Models! With being Role Models we are also at times a symbol of Morality, or a Moral Compass for our students. The fact we spend so much time with students provides us with tremendous opportunity to engage and inspire our students. We can be the catalyst for inquiry and the development of individual passions. With this comes the responsibility to model positive behavior with our students. To demonstrate to them positive interactions with others.
Teachers are expected to not only educate the students in their classes about the content outlined in the curriculum guide, but also about life. Teach young people how to share, resolve conflict, demonstrate compassion and empathy for others. Teachers are expected to teach a sense of the world around them, and understanding of world events we ourselves might not completely grasp.
Educators in all capacities are expected to do so much more than just guide instruction. This is what should be taught to pre-service teachers during their training. They will be counselors, they will hear the stories of poverty, abuse, depression as it is unfolding in the lives of those they are charged to educate and Protect! They will engage these young people on a daily basis with the potential to be the most positive human interaction that child will receive that day. There is so much more to teaching than knowing your subject area content. Teaching is about relationships and compassion for each and every child!
My Take Away!
What has impacted me the most in my teaching has been those personal connections with my students. I am so excited to share the positive connections made by those students who let me know I made a difference in their lives. It is harder to acknowledge those who made a lasting difference in mine because sometimes it is too late to show those students they matter, they are valuable, and they are loved!
The following is a must read story shared by @supt_Jordan Travis Jordan about a student he will always remember. Missed Opportunity.