|Image from here|
I have to start out by saying I am sorry for what I am about to post. It may offend, it may irk you a little, so thus the apology beforehand. See there now you are disarmed and perhaps it wont really be so bad, after all, the apology has already been given.
I am serial apologizer. Not for my life really but for the way I teach. I don’t flash the way I work in my classroom, which sounds ludicrous since I blog about it, but if you catch me in conversation, I am not one to tell you that what my kids do is pretty spectacular. That the kind of community I am part sometimes makes me deliriously happy. That I am so proud of all the work my students do, of the risks we take, and the mountains we climb. I don’t flaunt it because that would be too offensive.
And yet, for every time I hide what I do. For every time I don’t stand by the choices I have made in case I may offend someone, I chip away at my own desire as a teacher to be a world changer. My own world, the world of my students, and perhaps even the greater world outside of my room. For every time I wrap my teaching philosophy in apologies a little bit of it gets duller, less fantastic, until I wonder what I will be left with.
So why is it I feel the need to apologize? Because I am different? Because I have opinions? Because I vehemently believe that the focus has to be on the needs of the students and not that of the teacher? Because I believe in honest communication and not veiled lingo? Because I believe that you have to fight for change from within in any way you can and give your students that voice? Because I believe that we have to get the students involved in their own education so we don’t lose them, after all education should not be done to them but with them?
I am not sure, I am sorry, I really don’t know But it is making me think that I need to stop. I am starting to think that I need to stand by what I do a little taller, a little prouder and not diminish the choices I have made. The choice to be different in an otherwise cookie-cutter educational system because it is what I believe in. The choice to throw away punishment, lecturing, homework and grades as much as I can and instead focus on knowledge, exploration and the need to fail over and over again. The choice to change, the choice to not do it the way I was taught, and the choice to take risks. After all, it is working, I am sorry, but it is true.