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Teacher: a person who teaches?

' A teacher must be anchored in pedagogy and blend imagination, creativity and inspiration into the teaching learning process to ignite a passion for learning in student.' Peyton Williams, President ASCD 2003 

This quote sums up how I feel about my role as an educator. When I am asked to describe what I do, the simple response “I’m a teacher” doesn’t really capture the depth and breadth of my profession and my passion. In chapter 6 of the Expert Panel Report on Early Reading, Kindergarten to Grade 3 they discuss how it is teachers who make a difference in the success of their students. Teachers, who base their classroom practices on sound pedagogy, differentiate for the needs of their students, create an organized and inspiring learning environment and regularly assess their students in relation to the curriculum. I would say that this definition also, doesn’t cover the intricacies of my role as a team thriving, critical thinking, innovative, tech-savvy life-long learner and facilitator of curiosity! 

Education is an intentional process of drawing out learning, of encouraging and giving time to explore and discover. An educator must be anchored in good pedagogy – instructional strategies and professional practices. Strong content knowledge is important, but I would argue that the pedagogiacal knowledge will have a greater impact on student learning. When an educator has an open to learning stance and models a growth mindset, students also see themselves as learners. 

An educator who can bring imagination & creativity into the teaching and learning process will inspire students to be diverse and innovative thinkers. Gunter Pauli, Founder of ZERI said in a TED talk, “ If we are only teaching what we know, our children can only do as bad as we are doing, and this is the challenge we are facing – we have to go beyond it.” Educators need to think creatively and be willing to take risks as they inspire students to do the same. Through authentic inquiry-based learning, students are encouraged to ask questions, investigate, research and wonder. It takes a creative and responsive educator to transform that wonder into knowledge and work towards a common goal of understanding. This is the work of an educator. 

But at the core, to be an educator it is all about relationships. To be able to ignite a passion for learning in a student, an educator must be passionate about their work and truly care about their learning community. A quote from Rita Pierson’s Every Kid Needs a Champion TED talk always resonates with me, “You know, kids don’t learn from people they don’t like”. Kindness and gratitude go along way for building and maintaining relationships and there are many relationships important in an educators learning community - relationships with students, parents, colleagues and administrators. Building a collaborative learning community is integral to my role as an educator. It is my professional learning connections and networks that strengthen my pedagogical knowledge and challenge me to come up with creative ways to inspire learning. The role of an educator is truly a life-long learner.

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