17 August 2011

Stop hiding and teach!

I am currently reading Teacher Man by Frank McCourt (he wrote Angela's Ashes) which is a memoir of his 30 years of teaching in NYC schools.  To give you a little background, McCourt was raised in Ireland and started teaching in 1957 after graduating from NYU.  As he tells his story, he sends a number of messages about what it means to be a great teacher without coming out and saying it directly.  He doesn't preach, he just tells great stories about how he happened to make the right decision.

There was one comment that he makes about himself that really struck me.  In fact, since I was listening to the book on CD in my car, I actually was scrambling through my center console to find a pen and paper to scribble down his comment as I am driving.  He was having a particularly tough stretch and McCourt said to himself,
"Stop hiding and teach!"
I want to make a gigantic sign with this on it and post it in the facutly room of every school in every country.  As teachers and education continues to come under attack more and more teachers are falling back on what is safe, comfortable and what will allow them to keep themselves away from the firing squad.

But you can't do that!

Teaching is not safe.  Teaching is a contact sport.  There are going to be mistakes, there are going to be mishaps, there is going to be turmoil.  Put yourself out there.  Try something that you have never done before--not just a new activity but a new teaching style.  Who cares if you are in your 1st year or your 30th year.  Schools need educators who are going to go the extra mile and put themselves out on a limb.  

So please, STOP HIDING AND TEACH!!