Monday, April 6, 2009

52 Teachers, 52 Lessons #12: Never Stop Learning

This week's entry comes from AtlantaTeacher1976 of Enjoy!

What is the most important advice I can give to other teachers?


Learn. Observe. Ask. Listen. Collaborate. Open your door for goodness sakes.

When I became a teacher a few years ago, I was shocked by the utter loneliness of the job. It's true that many of us become teachers because we enjoy being leaders, we enjoy the autonomy, and we enjoy the "magic" that often happens when the bell rings, the door closes, and we alone get to lead 30 little minds into new worlds.

However, must we isolate ourselves from our colleagues? Must we behave as if we are the only ones with expertise? You can learn new strategies from the teacher right next door to you. Ask to visit his or her class just to observe. The teacher you think is old and senile is the one with a treasure chest (file cabinet) full of lesson plans still effective after 20 years. And don't just stay in your content area or in your grade. I teach high school English, but one of my most fascinating discoveries this year happened in a 3rd grade science/math classroom.

"Professional Learning Community" and "Personal Learning Network" aren't just buzzwords to be tossed. They're powerful tools for becoming a better teacher.

And, of course, we must also learn from our students. Sure, we've been in school longer than they have, but we don't necessarily know more than they do. From my students I've learned html, skateboarding, Chinese opera...I've learned work ethic, creativity, the art of laughter...all from my sweet, wily teenagers.

Learn to be more curious with your students and colleagues and you will grow exponentially.

Read more about this project here or add the 52 teachers 52 lessons tag to your favorites. Email your entries to teachforeverATgmailDOTcom. Week 13 will be posted next Monday, April 13th.