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…then why not be the best teacher you can be?

An instructor at an instructional skills workshop posed this question early this summer. I was sitting in a high school library on a hard chair, having just created a name-tent for myself (the first strategy of the seminar), feeling lethargic and unsure this was where I was meant to be during my first official summer vacation as a teacher. But being the nerd I am, I scribbled down each word I heard in my spiral just the same. I figured after I drank some coffee  at our 11:15 a.m. break (not that I was watching the clock), this guy’s words might be something I wished I could reflect on.

“If you are going to teach,”  he said, “Then why not be the best teacher you can be?”

It was a good question. If I am choosing a career in education, and I am going to go to school each day and be paid for teaching anyway, then why not strive to be the best teacher at my school?  Even if I fall short, I will most likely turn out to be a damn good teacher.  

I’ve been turning said instructor’s words over in my mind ever since. [Similar to F. Scott Fitzgerald’s fictional Nick Carroway who couldn’t stop pondering the advice his father dispensed: “”Whenever you feel like criticizing any one,” he told me, “just remember that all the people in this world haven’t had the advantages that you’ve had.”

I can’t seem to get those words out of my head. I keep asking myself, is this my best?

This blog is intended to keep that question in my head and in my heart. I’ve been to many workshops and conferences and meetings. For this reason or that, some words and ideas are worth writing down and some go in one ear and out the other. This is one question I hear clear as a bell at this early point in my teaching career. I don’t want it to fade into a whisper…

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