A good teacher has always been much more than a giver of information, the source of knowledge. A good teacher is a coach, guide, mentor and facilitator; someone who is always curious and always seeking to learn; someone who celebrates not knowing, the unknown and seeks truth and meaning.
High stakes testing and content driven curricula have driven many schools to teach to the test and try to reach unreachable targets as they fight for funding and ultimately their existence.
The teacher is caught up in the middle of this senseless storm. She needs to teach in a way that is counter to the way she really wants to be. The ‘giving of information’ part of her role becomes the dominant method and she is forced to compromise her skills and passion as she fills up kids with meaningless facts and shallow tests in terms of higher level thinking skills.
The World Wide Web has revolutionized access to information. With so much instantly available, some fear that the role of the teacher will be diminished, but I feel that the teachers’ role will be strengthened. Teachers now can focus on what they really were meant to be. The role of a coach and guide; someone who can help kids navigate the world and bring out their natural curiosity; someone who can help the kids grab hold of that curiosity and guide them through exploration and action.
Doctors too are going through a similar journey. Patients are coming to them with a list of possible symptoms, and their role has taken on that of a guide based on experience with people-real people.
Some teachers fear loss of control and the loss of power. These are the teachers who went into the profession for the control and power.
Good teachers, the ones who went into the profession for the right reasons can breathe a sigh of relief. Finally, the Internet revolution will lead to the education revolution.
This long overdue revolution will, I believe, come from the kids themselves. They are now finding their voice and they will no longer accept the school system as it is. They will no longer conform to a pattern of learning foreign to how they were born to learn.
Like countries have toppled their governments after years of tyranny and suppression, so too will kids topple the system, which has for too long suppressed their natural way of learning.