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Those that inspire…teach

I have been a public school educator close to 20 years; I have been an educator my whole life. My grandmother ran one of the first daycares in the country, albeit a small one out of her home, but my mom still tells story about coming home from school to find strange small children in her house. My uncle was a teacher, my mom was a teacher. I did not want to be a teacher, when I went to high school, because I was smart, I thought I wanted to be a doctor or something “important.” Nobody in my high school track wanted to be a teacher, except, perhaps, those that came from a family of educators. I had some fantastic, inspiring teachers, don’t get me wrong, but teaching, as a profession, was not encouraged. Teachers were not respected, they were not paid very well, and “anybody” could become a teacher. The saying back then was, “Those that can’t…teach.”

Today I am fortunate to work with some great educators who know how important it is to mentor and encourage young people to become educators. Some of these teachers did not start out in the field of education, while others come from generations of teachers. What do they all have in common? They are passionate about teaching and sharing not only their subject matter, but their opinions, their thoughts, their ideas and their hopes and dreams. Why is this important? Passion promotes learning-whether you agree or disagree with the thoughts and ideals presented, no one can argue that the teacher who is passionate resonates with students and colleagues, for better or for worse. These teachers may not be the most highly skilled teachers of content, they may not have the most skilled technique, but they are, nonetheless, inspirational.  My favorite story is about a colleague who teaches biochemistry. He is a scientist-who decided to become a teacher with the hopes of inspiring his students to someday become research scientists who will go on to find the cure for disease, or to find better solutions to fossil fuel.  He admits that he did not stay in research because there was too much reading and writing-skills that were not his strengths. His strengths are his passion for science and for sharing that passion with his students.

We are blogging for education reform in America.  The teacher in the classroom, whether face to face of virtual, has always had and continues to have the most impact on a child’s education.  It is time we start respecting that teachers hold the hopes and dreams of generations of scientists, mathematicians, Nobel  winners, explorers, adventurers, parents, and leaders  in  the palm of their hand and treating them as such. We need to encourage the best teachers to become better and to become leaders in their field. We need to shift our thinking from “Those that can’t …teach,” to “Those that inspire..teach.”


Cathy Brophy • November 22, 2010

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  1. You Want Ideas? We Have Ideas! « Cooperative Catalyst
  2. Elizabeth Peterson November 22, 2010 - 7:17 pm Reply

    What a great post. I too come from teachers. I toyed around with being a mechanical engineer, a car mechanic and a psychologist, but the pull to be a teacher was there from a young age. Teaching my stuffed animals was my favorite after school game ever since I can remember.

    It is my sincerest hope to inspire those I teach both in person and online. I think that is a teacher’s first responsibility – the rest will come (with lots of hard work and frustrations along the way, of course!)

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