var _gaq = _gaq || []; _gaq.push([‘_setAccount’, ‘UA-38949041-1’]); _gaq.push([‘_trackPageview’]); (function() { var ga = document.createElement(‘script’); ga.type = ‘text/javascript’; ga.async = true; ga.src = (‘https:’ == document.location.protocol ? ‘https://ssl’ : ‘http://www’) + ‘.google-analytics.com/ga.js’; var s = document.getElementsByTagName(‘script’)[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(ga, s); })(); I was especially perturbed this previous fall when presidential candidate Governor Romney implied teacher selfishness, claiming that Chicago teachers, who were on strike, abandoned students and, in essence, demonizing them for asking for fair raises and compensation.  I’ll ignore the irony for a second, as that comment seemed to come from a somewhat hegemonic hundred-millionaire, to focus on what it truly means for a teacher to be selfish.

I was thinking about this, specifically, this evening, as I was enjoying dinner with some of my colleagues.  We recently finished conference week, and we were discussing this week’s hardships and successes.  I, as many of my colleagues did, found myself beaming with pride and joy as I walked out of school today.  For the first time ever, my students led fully self-sufficient, student-led conferences, in which they chose artifacts and shared their learning in almost all subject areas.  They decided upon the artifacts to share, the order in which they shared them, and the extent to which they were able to talk about them.  Of course, I asked questions along the way, as did the parents, but the true power of self-directed learning came through forcefully and more succinctly than ever in a twenty-minute conference.

Coincidentally, I read a tweet today while at lunch, courtesy of @stumpteacher, which stated: Teaching is not about what you will do as the teacher but about what kids will do because of you.

We are all selfish, in one way or another, and as a teacher, I am selfish, too.  In fact, anyone who indulges in any sort of self-fulfilling activity is, by definition, in some way, selfish.  Teaching fills my heart and enriches my soul, and makes me feel an incomparable sense of pride, that I’m sure could not be fulfilled by any other profession.  Listening to my children speak about how much they’ve learned about ecosystems, author’s tone, reading nonfiction, and writing descriptively and effectively made me feel really good about the life that I lead today, but more so, I felt an abundant amount of joy knowing that they are loving to be at school.


I am a selfish teacher, and I am so proud of it.

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