I had a great, very interesting conversation with a colleague this morning, and I was asked if I had unrealistic expectations that I want to coach and create and develop great teachers for every child in my school, in our system, in our province, and in the world… This person said, “You cannot expect all teachers to be great teachers.”
If we approach this from a statistical perspective, my colleague is correct. We will have teachers who need support or may be in the wrong profession, but we will always have great teachers as well.
If I approach this as an educator, practitioner, and principal, I cannot and will not accept that argument.
Education is growing and developing, and it has changed in huge ways in the 20 years I have been in the field. I hope that all teachers want to become better. Yes we face issues, but DOES IT REALLY MATTER why students have the issues they do? Social issues, poverty, socio-economics, parenting skill, behavioral or social or emotional issues… We need to be the best we can to help them to become what they need to be. Whatever it takes…
If we look at economics, will we ever have enough teachers, education assistants, schools, volunteers, food, finding, technology or…? But I can assume we can have as many excellent teachers as we have teachers…
If we approach this from an equity perspective, I have to believe in the idea that anyone, with the right teacher, can be supported to move out of inequitable situations or social class. Anyone can be anything they want to be with the right teachers and supports.
My Education “F” Word is “Fine.”
I do not want teachers who are “fine.” I do not want to be a principal who is “fine.” I do not want to work at a school that is fine.
I want teachers who are AMAZING! I want to be a principal who is AMAZING! I want to work at a school that is AMAZING.
We need to coach each other to be amazing! We need to collaborate to become better! We need to support each other to have higher expectations for student learning!
A friend sent me a blog about the Pygmalion Effect. We need to be this for our students, but we need to be that for each other as educators who have high standards and expectations for each other.
We know that being an educator is more of a calling than just a job for most of us. I am sorry, but I cannot accept that schools accept “fine” as being acceptable. I know a lot, bring a lot of expertise, work hard, and learn every day. I do not know everything. I do not have a binder to solve all my student issues. I do not have it all figured out.
We need to right people in the right place. We need to be willing to become better… To learn… To grow… To help others… To learn from others…
And yes, statistically I may not be a realist, and I do have a drive for a Utopian education system.
I guess the real question we must ask ourselves is:
How can we afford to NOT expect all teachers to be GREAT teachers for our children?