Teaching should be an intentional act; an application of acquired skills with the purpose of facilitating learning. Teaching is both an art and a science. I believe that it involves as much research and effort into the technical skills as it requires the people skills to empathize and to understand when to follow rather than lead. It is akin to the skills required by a musician and the self-awareness and Emotional Intelligence to know when and how to apply them – ‘when to lift one’s butt cheek,’ so to speak. I saw an interview with Al Pacino once where he spoke about method acting. He said, ‘they are real emotions. A good method actor can simply hold them close to the surface of their skin and pull them out when needed.’ I always feel that is also the skill of the best teachers: the ability to give each student what they need, authentically, when they need it.
Learning is the thing! Learning is what it is all about. The worst educators think ‘teaching’ is the thing. “Inquiry” and the work of our Hubs has brought the focus to the student’s desk at the moment of learning. Very Cool! To not focus on the learning; the intended result of the teaching, is to corrupt the experience and misunderstand one’s role as an educator. ‘Corruptio Optimi Pessima‘ is one of the significant things I learned from Alfred North Whitehead’s “The Aims Of Education.” I am always weary of any educator more interested in their work than the learning that it should foster.
Caring for kids is a no-brainer! BUT, how many stop at simply citing that they, ‘like kids’ in the interview? A good measure is to listen to the conversation you are having with other adults about students. I like to have an empty chair representing students at each staff meeting with a diploma on the other side of the room. I have dubbed the staff in between the “Mindfield” through which students must navigate.