#03: The Duality of Teaching

“To me, I come to play the game to be the best in the world. That’s just the bottom line. I don’t wake up to try to be anything different. I want to be the best in the world to ever do this. I’ve got a lot of great players ahead of me. I think about guys like Peyton Manning and Tom Brady. I want to be remembered like them. I want to be able to leave a legacy people can’t ever forget, and hopefully, I can do that. That doesn’t happen without a steady process of one moment at a time, one game at a time, and not looking to far ahead but just knowing that it’s a journey.” – Russell Wilson

I keep this quote of Seattle Seahawks Quarterback, Russel Wilson, next to my desk. Conversely, on a filing cabinet facing my desk, I keep drawings of myself that I’ve collected. They face my desk while I work.

The Two Sides of Teaching

I keep these two things up in my room to remind myself of the duality of teaching. Not taking yourself too seriously, while attempting to be the best teacher to ever wield an expo marker.

In teaching, you can’t take yourself too seriously. The kids don’t need a militaristic dictator, they need someone they respect and can relate to. Even as a young teacher, nearly zero of the teenager culture makes sense to me. I don’t get the TikTok dances or anime, and I certainly don’t get the slang.

An Untucked Tie

But I do my best to connect with the kids about their interests, and sometimes that involves making a fool of myself and asking questions that make me appear, as the kids say, “Not so hip.”

The other side of this is that, I come to class every single day trying to change the world in every lesson. I spend a significant amount of time researching pedagogy, content, and other teachers. I bring new ideas to the classroom to try and influence these kids to become curious individuals that know how to ask and answer big questions about the world through my subject.

Sometimes, though, you forget to tuck in the back of your tie. No matter how stellar your lesson is or whether you’ve generated enough enthusiasm in the class, inevitably, a kid will raise their hand to answer your powerful essential question with the statement, “I don’t know the answer, but your tie isn’t tucked in.”

You sigh, not only because the student didn’t answer your question, but also because it’s 6th period. You made a fool of yourself. You sit back in your desk at the end of the day, sigh, and look up to see the drawings of myself, laugh, and get back to work.

If you’ve made it this far, do me a favor and reach out to me on twitter to let me know what you think.

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