This past weekend, TSTA hosted six standing committees, getting input from members and moving the association forward. Some of the committees are political. Some are about bylaws. One committee is called the Teaching Profession Committee. I was privileged to be the staff liaison to that committee. One of the committee charges was to discuss teaching as a profession. The number of directions that discussion could go is nearly endless. Still, I heard a lot of what I heard throughout my time at TSTA, like an article I wrote in the Winter 07-08 Advocate. The article begins on page 20.
Good teachers have too many immeasurable qualities. Among these is an enormous commitment to their students and their jobs. I live with a teacher, and the quotes they used Saturday were phrases I hear often. Things like this:
“I have to be at school at 6:30.”
“My kids were acting up all day.”
It’s not their kids or the kids; we refer to our students as ours.
We don’t go to work. We go to school—and not to further our own education. While people in other professions go to work and deal with coworkers, teachers go to school and deal with “their” kids.
It’s too bad you can’t measure that kind of commitment because it really does show how great teachers think. Test scores are easy to judge, but great teaching—by really great teachers—is shown through commitment, flexibility, empathy, creativity, and dozens of other adjectives.
Maybe it’s better that way. In fact, I’m pretty sure it is.
By the way, Cornelius Anderson, the chair of the committee, came up with a really good slogan. He claims to hold the copyright on it now, though it seemed to happen a little too quickly for me to believe. It reads like this:
My Kids Are Your Kids—
I’m an Educator