Homily For Teaching

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Bruce C. Ditata is a retired teacher of Moderate Special Needs. He spent thirty years in the profession and, currently, retains a link with children through part-time work as a tutor.

“Our profession is now under siege. Teachers and their unions are increasingly being made to be scapegoats for everything that is perceived to be wrong with public education. Those of us who know that teachers are major parts of the solution, not the problem in education should be empowered to be the true reformers.

As schools open across America it is apropos to write about what it means to be a teacher of children, the importance of what you do, and your determination to do what is best for your students, first and foremost.

The greatest common link in the teaching profession- the dynamic that sets it apart from all other endeavors- is the ability of one teacher to make a difference in children’s lives. It is done one kid at a time over the course of a year and can reveal itself in many ways- an understanding smile, a nurturing glance, a timely intervention… The effects can change a life and last a lifetime. These moments are created in the crucible that is a classroom. Each one of us aspires to make things better for our students; and for them we serve as role models and confidantes, as well as pedagogues. This is our purpose, our raison d’etre.

Few administrators can properly judge what we bring to the table each day. A good administrator can sense that we possess a skill set, that we are team-oriented, that we want not only to educate our students, but that we, also, care about them. But it is not necessary that we convince our superiors that we are doing the best we can each day. It is enough that we know this fact ourselves.

No member of our teaching team, no chairperson, no department head-each one of them- by the way, with potential hidden agendas that might not have anything to do with best practices in the classroom- has the right to cast aspersions on our willingness to do what’s best (in our hearts) for our students. They might try to divert our attention with their petty jealousies or bureaucratic red tape, but they will not succeed.

We know why we teach. We understand our craft. We seek good and better ways to unpack the learning standards for our classes. We engage in professional development to enhance our pedagogy. Our sense of self as good teachers is secure.

We get up each day and the face in the glass tells us it is so.”

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Categories: Education, People Planet

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