Open Connectors in teaching…

A great post by Aaron over at Teacher In Development about the importance of being an open connector in your teaching practice. As Aaron states, we must actively model a thirst for learning that is both real and genuine:

Investors in their own learning:
Great teachers are always learning. We should never stop. We should never allow ourselves to think that we’ve reached some pinnacle of intellect where we no longer need to reach for more. We must challenge ourselves to be challenging to someone else.

We must never allow ourselves to coast. To slip into neutral, no matter how heavy our workload may be. We must remember that our market – our students – and teaching theory and methods – are smarter and faster than we are. They never coast. If we fail to invest in development and learning, we’ll quickly find ourselves stagnating and left far behind in today’s world. ( (Teachers as Investors II)

A few degrees on the wall, a steady gig, whatever, is no license to sit back and just be. I believe that the teacher should be a constantly evolving individual. We must continually be going after learning. This is essential not only for a vital teaching practice, but also to breathe life into our personal lives. I feel these things go hand in hand: without a rich personal life our teaching will suffer, and vice a versa. We cannot expect to ‘infect’ our students to become lifelong learners if we do not ourselves model such practice.

If you’re bored, you can bet your students are too! Invest in passion. Get excited about what you are teaching. If you’re not anymore, try to become an out-of-the-box thinker. {Invest in your development again.} (Teachers as Investors II)

How true…I see this in my students from time to time when I teach something that is ‘mandated’ that I have no interest in whatsoever. The converse of this is we have to be careful that we don’t sabotage our own classes by allowing our own personal indifference to a topic shine through in our teaching. I agree with Aaron; students can smell phony zeal a mile away, but there is also the problem that our own prejudices present. If we allow our own dislikes to control our teaching practice in areas where the learning is ‘necessary’ (ie mandated), then we must expect similar disdain to surface in our classroom.
thinking out of the box… this is truly the challenge that we face. I am only a rookie in the teaching realm, yet I already feel that I am losing my edge. This in my first year of teaching…The problem of creating a system to deal with individuals is that it creates such a box. Living outside it suggests that we will meet with discomfort, feelings of alienation, aggrivation.

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