How does getting paid for a skill change the skill – or the person? Or the value of the skill? If you volunteer for a job, is it not really a job? If you get paid for a job would you do it differently?
I’m thinking of teaching. I’ve been teaching in a classroom for 15 years. Preschool through high school and being a helper with college homework. And yet, the number one question I’ve been asked this month is – “How do you feel about being a teacher now?” They ask my kids – standing right beside me – “What do you think of your mom being a teacher?” I watched as my son gave a blank stare, I could see a few snarky replies float through his eyes, as he settled on – “It’s all good, she’s been teaching for a long time.”
Although I’ve been bewildered from other peoples responses and am trying to find a nice non snarky way to answer when folks ask if I think I’ll like teaching, I am also confused with my own thoughts.
I know I can teach a multi age spread differentiated classroom. I’ve been doing it for years, in co-ops, classes, my home, with other kids coming over to my home and teaching in several types of clubs from Boy Scouts to Surf Clubs. I love sharing information with others. Yet, strangely, I feel that my different experience set or training background, is also somehow – less than – especially with all the whacky comments.
So I dive into: Pinterest, Google Searches, Amazon Unlimited, Teacher Blogs, and Podcasts. Every time I think I’m going to learn something new, the secret between ‘those’ teachers and myself – I am only affirmed of my own knowledge and experience. They are doing exactly what I am doing. Their Big Idea on Pinterest is solving a public school system problem the way that homeschoolers have been doing it for years. Their Teachers Pay Teachers worksheets are what they are creating because they don’t have the right curriculum given to them from their districts to help kids in their classrooms.
Books and blogs are being written to help the ‘differentiated’ classroom. The obsession with multi ages and skills in one room. Again – Homeschool. I’ve taught a 3 year spread my entire career. The only thing we have split into more age appropriate learning was grammar/reading and mathematics. Yes, all the way through high school. Then spend some time with foster kids, kids who want to school at our home, co-ops, and group classes, and I’ve only ever taught 10-15 children of all different ages. In homeschool – you advertise a nature class, or a writing class, and folks sign up. Period. You don’t really say – this sign language class is for 5th graders. You say, I’m teaching an accredited high school credit sign language class and allow parents and students the space to decide on their own if they want to take the class. All of the kids are expected to participate. If there is a younger student, he most likely will not produce the same outcome as someone five years his senior. That’s ok.
This past month I’ve also gone to a couple of conferences. At one, I think I was the only non public school teacher in the room of hundreds of people. Their questions made me realize what a gift I had been given to teach the way we’ve been teaching. For the boys to learn the way they have learned.
Hands on. Project Driven. Delight Directed. Charlotte Mason. We tackle all sorts of subjects as a team diving in deep or sometimes just dipping a toe in the water waiting for later. I write it all down. Here on the blog, or with software on my computer. What were our goals? What did we learn? What resources did we use? How much effort was given? What knowledge and understanding was gained? What is our next goal? Is there a next goal? Where will this help our long term goals? Did our long term goals change because of this study? I’ve never liked the A, B, C – 4.0, 3.0 stamps on our learning. What does that mean? A. That you can quickly digest and regurgitate information to memorize facts on a test? That you did what was required of you? That you turned it all in?
In life? Isn’t that what life is about? Would you go to work and expect to be graded. I think I’ll just do C or D work today. I think I’ll just get a B today. I heard what you said, but I didn’t really understand, so I’ll just do most of it, and leave room for error. Really? You’ll be a chef and put most of the ingredients in the meal? And cook it to a 3.85 gpa level in the oven? No. We get a challenge and we give it 100 percent until we are finished. In everything. OR Your choice is not to do it at all. Or pass it on to someone who can.
I’m rambling. It’s a rambling day. This whole transition from fake teacher to real teacher messes with my mind. I’m reading an Amazon Unlimted book about teachers. The Happy Teacher Traits. 11 Habits of the Happiest Most Effective Teachers on Earth. So far, it has not only described my home, and my habits – but those of every. single. homeschool. teacher. I. know. Maybe we should all get jobs being teacher training consultants for the state government to show them how to run their classrooms and use their resources to their best potential.
Am I sounding Whiney? Maybe a little. I’m just ready for school to start. I’m all planned up, even allowing for a bajillion rabbit trails that my students might want to lead us down. Don’t tell them that. But even their crazy questions answered will have a plan. Ha. So much planning. But I know, after years and years of experience, that over planning in the summer is the key to simple easy do the next page forward movement all year long.
Ok. I’m done saying much about nothing. Or do you have something today? About the difference between fake homeschool teachers and real teachers who get paid?
Another great article from you, that rings true! 🙂 I taught in public schools for five years before getting married and later having children, and that public school teaching experience did absolutely nothing to help me out when I began homeschooling my oldest for kindergarten. 😦 I think it’s so odd when public school teachers have criticized me for homeschooling, or have been negative about our homeschooling experiences, because everything that was “popular” to try to do in the classroom situation to enhance learning, when I was teaching, was almost impossible to do at the classroom level but super easy to do as a homeschooling family! (I’m thinking of things like allowing children to enhance their learning styles by having brighter light or dimmer light, allowing students to sit at a desk or lay on the floor to do their work, read aloud if their best learning mode is auditory, eat food/snack while learning, allowing children to do their hardest subject either in the morning or afternoon depending on the time of day they learn best, etc. 🙂 The sad thing is that while I was a public school teacher, we had all this expensive curriculum that wasn’t working! I knew the math, writing, and grammar/spelling curriculum wasn’t good at all, but I couldn’t have told you why. Now I know. 🙂 Thanks to being a homeschooling parent for the last 15 years! 🙂
Oh, I’d love to know what your son thought! This is such a good post! Thank you for speaking up so clearly on something so close to the heart of many I know. And good luck with the newest teaching position. I can’t wait to see your posts about the rabbit trails you all follow!
Amen and amen!
You’ve always been an awesome teacher!
Homeschool teachers SHOULD train the government-trained teachers, ha!