Thursday, January 24, 2013

Now That's The Truth

I joined an interesting webinar tonight hosted by NNSTOY, featuring Charlotte Danielson and Teacher Evaluation. Needless to say, it was incredibly informative. About halfway through the webinar I realized I should have been taking notes...because Charlotte speaks the gospel as far as I can tell. So while I missed my opportunity to scribe the words of wisdom that were tickling my brain at that moment, I did manage to capture one major epiphany.

What struck me as bold and true was this statement:
Teaching is so hard that it can never be perfect.
Knowing that one of the most well-respected gurus in education believes teaching is hard is validating. I recently had a conversation with another educator, in which the educator characterized elementary teaching- primary in particular- as babysitting. This popular misconception changed for her after working in an elementary school for one day.

Charlotte furthered her statement with this quote:

…..classroom teaching…. is perhaps the most complex, most challenging, and most demanding, subtle, nuanced, and frightening activity that our species has ever invented….The only time a physician could possibly encounter a situation of comparable complexity would be in the emergency room of a hospital during a natural disaster.

-Lee Shulman, The Wisdom of Practice

As many of you know, in my Decree Your Degree initiative, I have often compared teachers to doctors.

So, yes, my formal APPR observation was last Friday. I couldn't believe how nervous I was! I don't know what came over me. I've been less nervous to speak in front of an audience of thousands...but I digress. Or do I? Could it be that I recognize how incredibly difficult teaching is, and that despite the best laid plans most lesson are more similar to the emergency room scenario noted above than a choreographed dance? 

Teaching is so hard that it can never be perfect. Thank you, Charlotte.

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