“Education is not a product: mark, diploma, job, money–in that order; it is a process, a never-ending one.”
– Bel Kaufman
– Bel Kaufman
A co-worker of mine asked us to think about our “Educator Self” and come up with some artifacts that tell the story of us as an educator. Since I will be with my NHS kids tomorrow morning and have to miss the literacy lab where these will be presented, I wanted to get my artifacts out on paper (so to speak).
- My first artifact would have been pretty hard for me to carry out of my classroom, as it is my ever-growing bookshelf. I still remember when I started teaching, wondering how in the world I would ever fill even one bookcase up with books. Now as I begin my seventh year of teaching (wow—is that even right?! I can’t believe it has been that long!), I’ve filled two large bookcases, a shorter one, and have nine crates of books/audio books! I feel this helps represent me as a teacher because I feel that reading is so important, both in my personal and professional lives. I teach and encourage my students to be good readers and to read often. I do self-selected reading with my classes and love that, by the end of the year, reading becomes a habit to them. They go back and get their books even when I don’t make them!
- Another artifact that represents me as a teacher would have to be my graduate school diploma. Along with being a teacher, I consider myself to be a lifelong learner. I feel that those two roles go hand-in-hand. Getting my degree in Teaching of Writing helped me grow as a teacher. I feel better-equipped to teacher writing in my class. It also gave me a reminder of how it feels to be a student. I try never to ask my students to do anything that I wouldn’t do myself.
- I’m unsure whether my third artifact should be a pen or a keyboardJ The pen seems more traditional. However, in a technological world the keyboard seems more relevant. At any rate, you get the idea. Writing is such a huge part of my life. It’s also an important skill for my students to learn, regardless of their chosen paths in life. As a teacher, I try to not only teach my students about writing, but show them. For the majority of my writing assignments, I write along with my students.
- As all teachers know, sometimes we need to be reminded of why we are in this noble profession. Behind my desk, I have my wall of pictures. On this bulletin board (which is starting to run out of room!), I have pictures of my favorite classes/students. Mixed in with the pictures are little notes and drawings from my students. This board reminds me about how much I care about my students and how much they care about me. Since this is the top reason why I love to teach, it’s an important reminder.
- Finally, I would have to include my pink St. Louis Cardinals mini-bat. As you all know, I had quite the fight last school year. While at first glance my fight with cancer doesn’t seem to be teacher-related, I have never felt so close with my students. It was important to me to be the best teacher I could be last year, even though I had a lot going on personally. I was open and honest with my students and co-workers. My students showed love, compassion, and maturity well beyond their years. One morning, one of my old students who often visits in the morning came in armed with my pink bat. They are often handed out at the Mother’s Day Cardinals’ game since that game is used for breast cancer awareness. My student though I needed oneJ It’s my reminder that I’m a fighter, both in the classroom and out. My students better watch out, because I don’t consider failure an option!
“I cannot teach anybody anything, I can only make them think.”