I tried doing this blog a year and a half ago but got too busy. After the year I just had, I felt that I had to write my thoughts down so that other teachers could get some ideas from what i have learned. I am not a great teacher. But I am a teacher with too many ideas in my head. I wish I had time to act on a small portion of them. With that in mind, I want to mention a few of the things which have happened to me this year. I will probably bring them up from time to time as I have more experiences because of them.
During the past year, I took part in Cornell’s Institute for Physics teachers (and subsequently asked to be a part of their on-going lab creation program for high schools), I recieved National Board Cerification in Physics, Recieved a $2000 TEACH Award from Best Buy, recieved another $1000 grant from my district and then was awarded a NASA MESSENGER Fellowship. By all accounts a career year for an ordinary high school teacher. I mean that. It is not humility that causes me to say that I am ordinary. Those who know me will tell you that they cannot shut me up when I do something well. So when I say that all those good things i listed went to an ordinary teacher – I mean it.
Which brings me to the point of this blog. Or at least one of the purposes of it. I want others to follow in my footsteps. If I can recieve these honors , others can also. The only thing stopping everyone from what i have been able to see is time. Every time someone asks me how I can do something, they ask about the time spent doing it. It seems that no one ever has any time. My only comment to the complaint of not having time is “Make some!” Finding time is like ike going on a diet. Most people waste tremendous amounts of time and energy doing fad diets because they don’t want to do what really works – cut food intake and exercise more. The same is true about getting the word out about what you do in the classroom. You can spend all your time lamenting what others do or you can go after the goodies yourself.
My wife, who is also a Nationally Certified teacher, says that teachers are not used to SSP, or Shameless Self Promotion. I tend to agree with her. We both decided to attempt National Certification together and both of us had a tough time with part 4 of the writing, which is a self-reflecting personal biography about what you do well OUTSIDE the classroom which helps your students IN the classroom. She recieved her certification the first time she attempted it and I recieved mine the second time. It was the most intense educational experience of our lives. It also changed our views on many things including being vocal about the good things we do. Just think about all the negative stories out there about teachers(my local paper thrives on these.) We need more teachers broadcasting to world all the good they do. Maybe then someone will recognize us for the force we are.
So when you finish reading this, go and spread the word about what YOU do. Sign up for a new program. Apply for an award. Write a newspaper article or contact the newspaper about something cool you are doing soon. Shout at the world how great your students are and what you are doing to show them the light. And maybe people will start to take notice of the silent majority of teachers out there doing a wonderful job.
Have a great year!