- Interpersonal skills trump professional skills.
- Give students a job and let them do it.
- Be open and collaborative, but step in when needed.
- Be visible.
- Keep a sense of perspective.
- Finally, be a decent human being.
Implicit is the idea that students are the equals of teachers, that their opinions are based on the same amount of experience and understanding. "Give them a job and let them do it" implies the teacher is only a obstacle to student achievement.
I know that some will blast me for saying this, but tough. If the kids were truly the equal of the teacher, why bother with the teacher? Why spend so much time, effort and money getting teachers to write curricula, design assessments and lesson plans, take workshops on classroom management and all the million other things we do? Plop him in front of the technology he loves so much and keep your old-school ways out of his way - yeah, <sarcasm> that works real well. </sarcasm> Just look at how much they accomplished last summer.
Why is being decent, having perspective and being visible, open and collaborative considered the be-all and end-all of good teaching? I think it's because so many of us are lousy teachers who aren't properly prepared, so we focus on our smiles instead of our subject. Being decent and all is important but it is not what makes a "Good Teacher."
When did the adults abdicate their responsibilities to be the leaders, to be the teachers? Why does that old joke about "those who can" still hold so much traction? The answers to these questions are complementary.
But not very complimentary to the profession.