Friday, November 05, 2010

Lifelong Learning

The best teachers are lifelong learners.

At a staff development session the other night I was struck by the observation that none of us were new; every teacher in the conference room had at least 10 years of experience. Several had earned Masters' degrees in education. We were all there to learn a developmental method of teaching word study, phonics, and spelling.

I learned a great deal. And as I left I wondered, where were the newbies? The rookie teachers, the ones who could implement this immediately and never look back at a spelling textbook in their entire career?

Unfortunately, we're seeing a trend in recent graduates. They know it all. One, two, or three years into their careers, they know more than the reading teachers. They know more than the literacy coach, the professor who comes in for our collaboration grant, and the more experienced teachers.

Brand new teachers have several advantages: energy, enthusiasm, knowledge of recent brain-based teaching theories. They don't, however, know more than the experts. And they certainly don't know it all.

Maybe I should start thinking I know everything. It sure would be easier, wouldn't it? I wouldn't have to keep learning, spending time and energy and even money to find new ways to reach more children.

Nope. That last statement said it all. Finding new ways to reach more children is the reason teachers keep learning. I think I found my answer.

Now I'll just watch and wait for the newbies down the hall to realize this, too. Maybe we can carpool to the next class in Words Their Way.

Or not.

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6 Comments:

Blogger Royal Ranch said...

Isn't it funny how the older we get, we learn the more we need to learn?

11/05/2010 6:36 AM  
Blogger Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

It's funny you write this--I saw the same thing with the "new hires" 15 years ago at Kaukauna. They knew it all already--even department meetings were "not useful." Their arrogance was astonishing. I wonder if it matters where they graduate from? The UWSP people seem more willing to keep learning...

11/05/2010 9:02 AM  
Blogger slow panic said...

I'm so thankful for teachers that are life-long students.

11/05/2010 9:06 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

When I was teaching technology to teachers, including use of their computers for grades and classroom purposes, many of the younger ones said they would never use it, and didn't want to be bothered with it. That was ten years ago. What do you suppose they are doing with it now? Many schools REQUIRE grades on line and parent/teacher contact on line. Many of the older teachers near retirement were happy to learn and use it. Life long learners? Yes.

11/06/2010 11:02 AM  
Blogger Earth Muffin said...

I don't see this particular brand of arrogance with new teachers in my building, but what I do see a lot of is new teachers with 2, 3, or maybe 4 years of experience leaving the classroom to become administrators. While I have nothing against someone wanting to advance in their field or even someone wanting a little more prestige or money, I really don't think that's enough time in the "trenches" to be an effective administrator. I know this is unrealistic, but wouldn't it be nice if all administrators had at LEAST 10 years of classroom experience?

11/06/2010 3:03 PM  
Blogger Shari said...

I see this in marketing too. They know EVERYTHING until a crisis hits. Then they need us.

11/07/2010 7:03 PM  

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