We’ve all had experiences with memorable teachers. You know the ones we mean, the ones we knew really cared about us. The ones who inspired and motivated us, often spending their own money on creative and interesting props that the school wouldn’t or couldn’t pay for just because it made their delivery more interesting and increased the chances that we might pay attention and learn something. We are talking about the teachers who asked the good questions, the ones who encouraged our curiosity and discussion with our fellow students, the teachers who insisted on objectivity and diligence when examining any and all issues. Our fellow humans who for very little money and while dealing with loads of adminis-trivia cared enough to show up each day, in spite of our moods and often against our wishes, in an effort to teach us something. They cut us the break when we needed it, so long as we did better the next time.
We all had at least one, maybe several, and if we were really lucky we had them every step of the way.
The debate rages about programmed learning. MOOCS dream that 50,000 students in a “course” will become well educated simply by watching a video and taking an electronic quiz. Publishers and LMS content manufacturers push ready made curricula requiring only the base skills of an administrator. While all these assaults on the humanity of teaching continue, every day the human teachers of the world wake up and fight their way through the yammer, the noise and the often daunting newness of the 21st century tech environment to do what they signed up to do: help our children find their way in life.
Our children spend more time with these humans than with their parents. Happily so, because that is the thread of human interaction that we should never abrogate to the cyborg controlled learning system. For as long and as far back as our collective memory takes us, teachers have looked us in the eyes, sized up our fears and interests, and worked with us. From the glow of the fire to the glow of the plasma screen, from the lines in the dirt to the lines on the chalkboard and now the interactive whiteboard, we must continue to improve these tools. We must never lose sight of the humanity that is a teacher.
We love technology and all that it can support, but we love teachers even more!
Thank you to all of the teachers for caring about our children and our collective future.