It’s always enlightening to be around first-year teachers. They often have important insights for those of us who have been around a while, and they help to remind us of some of the ideals we can’t afford to forget.
In some cases, they can remind us of other things, though, such as how to be the teacher we should never want to be.
At a recent professional development, I sat in earshot of a first-year teacher. She didn’t bubble over with enthusiasm and joy for the job and her charges. Instead, she seemed to have resigned herself to that old, disgraceful, and indefensible argument: “My kids can’t.”
I loathe hearing people say things like, “My kids can’t.”
Once you believe this lie, you cease being a teacher for anyone but yourself. What kid needs a teacher who believes only that he can’t and not that he can? Why do teachers choose to take the negative attitude over the positive? How many kids are falling behind and failing in their own belief about themselves because their teachers are sending them messages that they are worthless?
I did say something to this first-year teacher, as calmly as I could, in defense of her students (who I, of course, have never met.) Miraculously, though, I just knew that hers were not the kind of kids who couldn’t, and that they just had to be the kind who could.
Incidentally, anecdotal evidence proves that every child CAN when they are given opportunities to show they can.
What I wanted to say to this particular teacher wasn’t too kind…
“With that attitude, the only one who can’t is you. Please find a new profession.”