Nov. 14, 2017
Nov. 14, 2017
Originally published on Popsugar.
If it feels like your teacher friends sometimes can't stop talking about their jobs, consider that maybe they have a reason to be that passionate. While many of us complain about the mundane, repetitive elements of our 9-to-5s, teachers enter the classroom as leaders and have the opportunity to leverage their unique skills and creativity to oh, you know, change the world.
The classroom is undergoing a transformation—and that transformation is being led from the front of the class. That’s why would-be teachers are finding value in organizations that illuminate how the teaching profession is changing, and provide personalized resources and support, such as counseling, ways to explore whether teaching is right for them, and connections to certifications. To find out why teachers are so excited to share their work stories, we caught up with a couple of them to chat about life in the modern classroom. Pay attention, please...
Inquiry-based learning is the best thing to happen to education.
"Inquiry-based learning is the best thing to happen to education," says Spiro Gouras, a third-grade teacher in New York. "Our curriculum puts the access of knowledge in the hands of the student. The teacher does not simply deliver; rather, she focuses on the essential questions. The movement within a unit of work is guided by the students' questions and learning style. It works wonders."
Project-based learning takes this concept even further, with students working for extended periods of time to solve real-world problems and challenges. Best of all, their theses can take just about any form. "For example, I am teaching a Shakespearean play," says Chelsea Fricker, a sixth-year English teacher in Virginia. "A music-loving student can make a soundtrack based off of the main character to demonstrate his conceptual knowledge of the curriculum. It will also give him the skills and knowledge to adapt, which is arguably one of the most important lessons someone can learn."
Teachers are a community
It takes confidence to stand in front of a class, never mind leverage the freedom, creativity, and increasing autonomy that teaching offers. But teaching comes with a strong sense of community, both inside schools and across the profession at large. That community is growing stronger, bringing new meaning to, "If you're stuck, ask the teacher!"
Just like teaching a child requires a village, as the saying goes, so does the institution of education.
"Just like teaching a child requires a village, as the saying goes, so does the institution of education," says Chelsea. "We need to go to more than just our principal for questions. Maybe a certain teacher has a lot of experience on a subject that I don't. In order to be a good teacher, you need to keep learning. And asking your colleagues for help will improve you."
More and more schools are formalizing this process through professional learning communities, where teachers learn from each other's areas of expertise. But there's no need to stay within the school walls to learn, listen, or share experiences. "We are seeing the rise of critical friends' groups where we solve dilemmas that our schools and districts have as a community," says Spiro. "We work with children all day and sometimes forget that we could use guidance from our peers."
Join the conversation
If you've thought about becoming a teacher—even if you don't know where to start—check out our roadmap quiz. It's an easy way to see if the profession might be right for you.
Still not sure? Find out why teachers have better work stories. You just might change your mind.
With a TEACH.org account, you'll have access to resources, experiences and connections to real teachers so you can discover what makes the career challenging, how it's changing, and how to navigate to success as a professional educator.