Having attended a surfeit of meetings over the past few months, I am completely amazed at the confidence with which many people are able to articulate opinions that are–to put it kindly–not particularly original nor well thought out. Restatements of old ideas, thoughts borrowed and camouflaged with new words, are taken out, dusted and polished and presented with a rare panache. And we listen, often with admiration and it is only later that we realise that we have heard nothing new.
However, this does not take away from the importance of presenting ideas and experiences, even if they are only restatements or revised representations, because in listening over and over to important ideas, we learn to look at them afresh and apply them in different ways.
The first step, it would seem, in this articulation, is to recognise ideas that are important, experiences that can contribute to the greater common good. The second step is to believe that one is capable of putting these ideas in a new light and that it is important for people to listen. We at Teacher Plus believe that every teacher has a unique way of approaching her classroom, her subject and her wider environment.
Each one of us makes little discoveries that render things we have learned meaningful and allows us to gain a deeper insight into our work. It’s important for us to share these insights and to gain from others’ insights. Many of us are stopped by the thought that we have nothing new to say and that no one will listen to us. But how will we know this unless we have tested the waters by first articulating what we have seen and felt?
If you look at the newspapers and magazines of general interest, you will find that everyone, from the student to the parent to the politician, sees himself/herself as an expert on education, particularly school education. But think about it, who could be more of an expert on school learning than the person who is in the classroom facing children day after day?
Every teacher is that expert and Teacher Plus is a forum for the sharing of ideas from these classroom-smart experts. If ever there is to be a change in the way our schools are run and learning emerges in our classrooms, it must come from the ideas and experiences of teachers. Think about what you do in school and how you do it. And then, without hesitation, write about it!