What do I Want as a Teacher?

GDR "village teacher" (a teacher tea...Image via Wikipedia

What do I want as a Teacher?

That is a good question, but there are not any easy or simple answers:

  • I could talk about wanting to be more respected and trusted for being the professional that I have become.
  • I could whine about the amount of standardized testing my students are subjected to and I have to prepare them for.
  • I could discuss the different ways of grading and how none of them really work when it comes down to addressing how a student is performing in multiple classrooms
  • I could discuss how those who are not teachers are making policy for the classrooms, that have questionable worth.
  • I could complain about how technology is being implemented at the classroom level.
  • I could get on my soapbox and scream about using student test scores to measure teacher and school effectiveness (especially in Special Education)
  • I could tell about how difficult this generation of students is more difficult to teach than any other in the past.
  • I could theorize how bad or good teacher’s unions are.
  • I could discuss teacher pay and whether it is equitable or not.
  • I could think out loud about the attempts by some to privatize school and end the public education system as we know it.
  • I could talk about how much a misnomer school vacations are for teachers
But in the long run none of those will really matter to me.

My students are all individuals, each with their own story to live out and what will happen to them when the institution of school, no longer allows or actively promotes positive relationships between students and teachers? When instead schools focus on ensuring that students meet certain standards at certain points, based upon standardized test scores? What happens when a student simply becomes a data point.

Take a good look around us, isn’t that is what is actually happening once you get beyond the local level, no matter the feel good rhetoric that is being said at the state, federal or corporate levels. Do they care about the individual student or do they care more about where that student ends up on their graphs and data analysis.

Personally, I want to be remembered as a teacher who cared deeply for the growth of the student both academically and as a person beyond the classroom. Those are important things to be remembered for.

I now know what I want to talk about

when I say
“What do I want as a teacher?”

It is actually quite simple, 5-10-20 years from now, I want for my present students to come up to me when they see me in the grocery store, mall, McDonalds or where ever they may see me in public and say

“Thank you Mr. Shaw, you made a difference in my life and do you remember when we…” or  “I am so glad that you never gave up on me, even when I was acting like a jerk.” or words similar to that.

I know that when my former students have done this, it makes all of the extra hours and time spent attempting to reach that student worth every second that I spent being their teacher.  Yes this does happen (and has happened to me), and many teachers have stories of former students coming up to them and spontaneously telling them how much of a difference that teacher made in their life.

Do you have a story of a former student who has come up to you and told you that you made a positive difference in their life?  Please write about it on your blog and link back to here, I think that right now many of us need to hear some of those stories.

So what do you want as a teacher?


“Are you doing the right thing for the right reason.”