Wednesday, April 10, 2013

When you just don't feel like being conventional---

After spending hours filling out different school applications here's my current answer to "What do you think makes an outstanding teacher?" in honor of National Poetry Month and the fact that my brain does not want to write another "essay."

By Leslie B. Patient

Outstanding teachers don't think they are
Outstanding teachers are in the building when the sky is dark.
Outstanding teachers want their students to challenge them
to question them
to make them be better teachers,
better people.
Ms. Patient, I think you might be wrong.
Yes, I very well may be. And I thank you for having the courage to correct me. That means I’m doing my job.
Outstanding teachers believe that their students can achieve.
All of them.
When you walk into an outstanding teacher's classroom you cannot find her for the hubbub of activity and collaboration of which she is in the middle
Or on the side, like Merlin watching his magic take hold.
Outstanding teachers love to learn
They are math teachers who read poetry for fun;
Poetry teachers who do math for fun.
Lifelong learners enthusiastic about proselytizing the joy of learning to a whole new generation.
Year after year after year.
An outstanding teacher embraces change knowing that the world always does
And that’s ok
Because the outstanding teacher knows that some things will remain constant
Like critical thinking
And collaboration and deep revisions and multiplication tables and variables.
Variables are constant, yes. Paradox.
The Outstanding teacher recognizes another paradox
Outstanding teachers don't think they are
Because that would mean somehow that they were outside or other or beyond
And if anything
An outstanding teacher is right there with
With her student
Until that moment when the student needs her teacher no longer
And at that moment the outstanding teacher knows
She has truly done her job.