Thursday, July 20, 2017

Why Teachers Need To See Themselves as Experts – Jose Vilson – Medium

Why Teachers Need To See Themselves as Experts – Jose Vilson – Medium:

Why Teachers Need To See Themselves as Experts

I just got back from the NNSTOY Conference in Washington D.C. The conference features some of the most decorated and outspoken teachers in the country. This year’s foci included racial and social justice (my raison d’etre, really), student voice, and teacher agency. I was fascinated with the conference’s forward thinking on this profession and the ways the organizers allowed its most potent practitioners to thrust this agenda forward. When you’ve assembled such a cadre of the country’s most visible spokespeople for this profession, you’re likely to get a good sense of where we are as a profession.
As an invited guest who is a National Board Certified teacher (NBCT), an internationally-recognized (notorious?) teacher-writer, and not-Teacher of the Year, I was fascinated by the humility. Even with all the A-type personalities in the room, the teachers in this space had a humility in their work that ought to be recognized. They generally come into their work with their hearts in the right place, and their minds on constant evolution. The folks in the room know how to walk into a classroom and make the space a learning vehicle.
That’s known as expertise in most professions, but for some reason, not this one.
(note: I’m defining “teacher” here as a licensed practitioner in our classrooms who works with such a title in a PK-12 setting in the classroom. That’s another fight entirely.)
I’m always concerned about how we own expertise. For an example, one of the things I learned through the NBCT process was that I had no idea how to directly talk about the profession. I’d use words like love, empathy, compassion, and failure to speak about my work in helping youth people find their paths. I still tell others that my work is nothing without my students and others who do the work.
I didn’t know how to directly say “I did this. Therefore, my students learned Why Teachers Need To See Themselves as Experts – Jose Vilson – Medium:

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