I Just Want To Teach
The Master Teacher Chronicles By Tiffany Jackson
We always have that point in the year where we start to think about what is our next move. I often wonder, Do I stay at my current school? Do I remain in the classroom? What about that instruction coach position? Could I be an administrator? Do I go back to school? What about opening my own school? In a mind already clouded with pampers, a preschooler and a longing partner, I have to decide my next career move.
But what happens to the teacher that just wants to teach? Colleagues encourage me to move into administration where my talents can reach the masses. Scholars want me to coach all of their clubs and spearhead after school clubs. My family encourages me to make the most money. My partner encourages me to be happy. And I’m still confused on just how to do all those things from the comfort of my classroom.
I’ve never had the ambition to be a principal, policy maker or chancellor. Though I’ve flirted with the notion of being in charge and doing school right, I’ve always come back to the classroom; to the idea of being a MASTER TEACHER. One of those goddesses from my childhood that taught the same course, in the same room, in the same school to generations of families.
Teaching is a craft and deserves to be nurtured and revered as such. A master teacher knows and does just that. A Cassius Clay of the classroom; the master teacher achieves great success transferring knowledge and igniting the fire in scholars. Data focused but driven by learning; the master teacher can reach any scholar and rocks a school’s world with simple logic.
I’d rather spend my summers reading, learning, and dreaming up a master plan to create a learning environment that wows the textbooks than weighing the pros and cons of moving to being an instruction coach or assistant principal. As a master teacher, I envision myself being a literacy and grammar guru, knowing all things AP, a laminating luminary, essay editing in my sleep and a growing goddess in my own right.
But what happens to the teacher that just wants to teach? They usually end up being paid less, switching from school to school looking for a program that matches their philosophy, begrudgingly moving into administration, mentoring a teacher that views teaching as a means to an end or worse, leaving education altogether.
Educators have to champion and cultivate the master teacher. Those teachers that are fueled by scholar success reflect responsibly and create change.
While I may lack the ambition to move up the educational ranks if you will, I will always want to move deeper into my craft.
If you are the teacher that just wants to teach, consider the following:
o What is mastery?
Define mastery for yourself as well as your school community. It may look and feel different. However, knowing what it means and recognizing it in yourself and your work will help your continued growth.
o What is the process?
Becoming a master of anything takes time. A master of teaching may take even longer. It is a constant tension between learning, processing, transferring, relearning, and retransferring.
o Is my mind growing?
Having a true growth mindset is essential to mastering a craft. If you think you cannot get any better, you will not. If you stop thinking, rethinking, learning, and re-learning, you will never reach mastery.
The teacher that just wants to teach also just wants to learn how to share, think, and grow. My only hope is that I reach mastery and as many scholars as I can in this lifetime.