Pondering World Teachers’ Day

It’s fall break.  Finally.  First quarter is done, report cards are finished, parent-teacher conferences are over.  And now I’m basking in the sunshine in California, enjoying a relaxing morning.  Somehow, planning and envisioning a new quarter aren’t as hard with a cup of coffee and a deadline that is a little ways off!

This morning, I opened up my email and saw a post by TwoWritingTeachers celebrating World Teachers’ Day.  The part that really spoke to me was a list of ways writing teachers enrich their students’ lives.  Anna Gratz Cockerille wrote this:

  • A writing teacher teaches children that what they have to say matters.
  • A writing teacher helps children to communicate what is on their minds and in their hearts in a way that others can understand.
  • A writing teacher helps children to have the courage to take great risks.
  • A writing teacher shows children that they have much more to offer than a single test can show.
  • A writing teacher shows children that writing can change people’s minds, can right wrongs, and can peacefully settle disputes.
  • A writing teacher helps children to keep going, even when the going gets tough.
  • A writing teacher shows children that revision is a vital part of any creative process, and that it’s not only okay but also usually necessary to produce a bad first draft.
  • A writing teacher shows children that it’s okay to not know where something is headed, but to see it through anyway and to have faith it will all be just fine in the end.
  • A writing teacher shows children that their process is more important than their product, that working independently and making choices about their work are more important than getting the correct answer. Because, in writing, after all, there are no correct answers. And no wrong ones, either.

Wow!  I read and reread this list several times.  It gave me pause; this is what we do every day during Writer’s Workshop…or at least, what we should do.  But then I thought even further.  What do we do as teachers?  Not reading, writing, math, science, social studies, art, or P.E. teachers, but as teachers?

I took Anna’s model (and some of her ideas…thanks Anna!) and crafted a list of what teachers do.  It is by no means complete, but here are some thoughts on a Monday morning.

  • A teacher teaches children that what they have to say matters.
  • A teacher helps children to have the courage to take great risks.
  • A teacher encourages children to embrace challenges, to make mistakes, and to persevere through it all.
  • A teacher provides time for conversation, for collaboration, for connections.
  • A teacher gives students opportunities to ask big questions and to explore possible answers—even if it gets a little messy in the process.
  • A teacher empowers students to make a change in the world, big or small.

Please feel free to add other things that teachers do each day when they enter their classrooms in the comment section below!  Happy World Teachers’ Day!

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