Sunday, May 22, 2011

The Guilt of Teaching

Lately I’ve been conferring with lots of teachers about their literacy practices and their instructional goals for next year, and I’m being reminded just how much guilt factors into teaching. It seems like everyone begins with apologetic statements about how badly they feel about their _____ (trouble fitting in conferences, long mini-lessons, lack of closing/sharing on workshop, need to differentiate literacy centers, etc.). No one has come to me and said, “I feel great about all I’m doing! I think I’ve got teaching down pat and I’m really beginning to think it’s getting a little too easy.”

It’s natural to want to do the best you can at any job, but in education the responsibility of knowing a child’s self-concept and future is on the line causes us to be more critical than perhaps some other professions. As teachers, we’re expected to do it all and there’s simply no way we can. So we feel guilty.

Show me a teacher who doesn’t feel guilty about at least some part of her teaching and I’ll show you a teacher who’s not being reflective. But as I said – my guess is you can’t show me that teacher because she doesn’t exist…

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