Monday, June 15, 2020

What is the role of an educator?

Educators at a recent meeting discussed an issue that made us think about mission--what is our mission as educators? Similar to parenting, education is one of those limitless jobs. There's no end to what you can do, but there are limits to time, energy, and capacity. While the job is limitless, we are limited. So what's a teacher to do?

As teachers talked at this recent meeting, I realized that it was time, once again, to visit the mission of the work I do--where should I spend my time? What should I do? With the recent transition to remote teaching and learning, I am probably not the only teacher asking these questions right now.

I became a teacher because I believe in the power that a good education holds for bettering lives. Education matters when it comes to good living, and I wanted to be part of that betterment process. So, above all, I see my role as a teacher as that of an educator, and I see my role as an educator as one who helps students build a strong foundation of academic skill, concept, and knowledge. Over the years I've read a lot about how to do that and above all it is important to offer students a safe, welcoming environment and strong, positive, trusting relationships. At school, we've had a long history of how to do this as well as a deep commitment to bettering our ability to do that. In the remote teaching world, we are still committed to safety and strong relationships, but we are knew at thinking about what that means exactly--what do good relationships and safe welcoming learning environments look like in the virtual sphere? That's a question we've been asking ourselves as we try out a host of strategies and endeavor.

In some cases, people's answers to questions related to strong, positive environments and good relationships in the virtual world differ, and to complicate matters it is not simply a remote world of teaching and learning, but also a world in the midst of a pandemic.

As I think about these questions with only a few days left in the school year, I realize that it is time to stay the course that we have created--a course which finds students attending regular meetings and working on positive learning projects and endeavor. Despite the move to remote teaching and learning, it has been a good, but very different, fifth grade year for students and teachers. With regard to next year, I want to reflect on questions related to our mission, what it means to be a good educator, build strong relationships, meet and model professional expectations, and create welcoming, engaging learning environments. Onward.