I'm not a New Age thinker, but recently I read a passage from a book by Harry Wong (The First Days of School, 2001) that made such an impact on me that I can't stop thinking about it and I feel compelled to share it with you.
In the chapter entitled, How You Can Become a Professional Educator, Mr. Wong tells teachers that professionals like doctors, lawyers, and athletes, often seek assistance or advice from peers when confronted with a dilemma. He laments that most teachers rarely get help from anyone. He says, "Though the essence of a teacher's work is helping others learn, teachers are the worst learners when it comes to improving their own performance." If you've been in the education field long enough you've witnessed the "reluctant teacher-learner." Sometimes the amount of protest infects the faculty and opportunities for improvement are diminished for all participants.
At one time or another, we've all been the reluctant teacher-learner, but Mr. Wong pleads with us to go beyond the initial reaction of resistance and seek connections that will ultimately improve performance and build relationships within the educational setting by (1) joining others that seek self-improvement too; (2) by becoming a peer coach or mentor; (3) by listening to peers; (4) by researching educational practices; (5) by observing peers within the classroom setting; and, finally, (6) by welcoming visitor and visitor evaluations. Wow! I can feel the energy, can you?
Alison Thetford, M.Ed