Lola Lolita Guest Blogs This Week – The Theme? Let’s Show Some Teacher Appreciation

I am a teacher.

Often, I have to repeat those words to myself. Roll them around in my mouth for a bit and let them slide off my tongue. Breathe them in and then out again.

In.

Out.

Let them settle into my brain, my soul, my heart.

Especially my heart.

I have to do these things because, in an age where teaching has been reduced to collecting data and preparing for standardized tests and completing evaluation paperwork and beseeching the public to offer support instead of criticism, it’s easy to lose sight of the reason you got into this job in the first place. To become downtrodden by the political and corporate takeover and decimation of education. To consider giving up and finding some other way to pay the bills.

I am a teacher.

I’m challenged with opening young minds to the world around them. With helping them see material in a new light. With encouraging them to seek out and want to know. With challenging them to push themselves beyond their comfort zones to learn — about themselves, about the curriculum, and about each other. Because in learning about these things, they learn about that which exists outside themselves. They learn about the human experience. They learn things that cannot be quantified and measured by governments and test makers.

That’s where the real learning exists. In the things that can’t be quantified and measured. That’s where the real teaching exists, too.

And the real teaching and learning? That shit’s hard, people. But it’s also the most important. That shit’s hard and most important because the real teaching and learning makes us uncomfortable and changes who we are as individuals. Or it should, at least.

That’s because the real teaching and learning — the stuff that students will carry with them for a lifetime — is one part grammar and evolutionary theory and memorization of important dates and quadratic equations and 99 parts how to live and breathe and survive and love in this world.

I am a teacher.

I’m challenged with teaching them the grammar, sure, and that’s not easy by any stretch of the imagination. But I’m also challenged with teaching them to be in this world. Teaching them to be critical thinkers, to be question askers, to be knowledge seekers, to be decent human beings.

I am a teacher.

I am not charged with shaping young minds but with teaching them to shape their own. I am not charged with filling their buckets but with helping them to fill their own. I am not charged with telling but with broadening. I am not charged with collecting data and preparing for standardized tests and completing evaluation paperwork and beseeching the public to offer support instead of criticism. Sure, that’s part of my charge, but it is not and should not be all of my charge. The majority of my charge is in setting high expectations and in encouraging and in assisting and in loving. The majority of my charge is my students. The majority of my charge is where I must focus my efforts.

I am a teacher.

And in an age riddled by the political and corporate takeover and decimation of education, an age in which data collection and standardized tests take precedence, an age in which numbers are more important than people, that’s what I need to remember.

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BIO: Lola Lolita runs SammichesPsychMeds.com and plays on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram. Hobbies include introverting, determining how cheap the wine has to be before she can’t tolerate it, and trying to sleep while thinking about that one embarrassing thing she did in high school.

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