Monday, August 24, 2009

Unorthodox Teaching

Orthodox* religion is like snow in the spring. It is dull and gray and has no ability to instill joy or peace. It’s just there and everyone wishes the rains would come and wash it away.

What about orthodox teaching? When teachers base their teaching practices on traditions, refined agendas, programs and materials, carefully constructed curriculum or the desire to gain the approval of others, is their teaching like the dull, gray snow in spring? My goal as a teacher is to shed my orthodoxy and respond from my compassion for each child and from my desire to help that child reach his or her potential. I will value the child’s exploration and investigations. I will talk less while I watch and listen to the children more. I will reflect on what the children say and do, and use my refection as my barometer to guide me in stretching my students as they grow as learners. I will have high expectations of myself as a learner and a teacher and I will have high expectations of my students as members of a community of learners. I will ask thoughtful questions and anticipate thoughtful answers. I will make every effort to elevate each child in her own eyes and in the eyes of others. I will celebrate each child and his thinking rather than dismiss the child and his thinking. My teaching will be anchored in my knowledge of the curriculum and good pedagogy but this will not be my guiding force. At the helm of what I do as a teacher will be my goal to have a class that is like a shimmering blanket of new fallen snow that lies soft and white upon the ground instilling joy, peace and a love of learning in all who come through the door. This crowns my task. The degree to which my practices are aligned with my ideals will be the degree to which I will be successful as a teacher.

Orthodox* - adhering to:
1) traditions
2) what is accepted
3)what is customary
4)what is approved by authority
-conforming to established practices or standards
-being loyal to a system of rules and regulations at all costs


  1. You give the impression of an ideal teacher. At the bottom line it all depends on whether you have discipline in your class. If there's no discipline, there's no teaching. Many teachers cover up the real situation in their classes.

  2. Is there such a thing as an ideal teacher? If there is, I am not her. You are right, children cannot learn in an unruly environment. This is one reason why it is important to have high expectations for our students.