Well, I’ll never forget having on obese PE teacher in middle school. I am not here to discredit someone for being obese. Indeed, as an adult, I too have become overweight. The difference is that I’m not a PE teacher or someone who preaches health and fitness for a living. He would tell us to run when he could not run himself. I saw this as hypocritical and disingenuous.
Once I became a teacher, I worked hard not to repeat these examples. So, as a Journalism and Media teacher, I continued to write, publish and produce my own freelance work. Not only did that keep me fresh and relevant, but also gave me credibility. If my students were wrestling with story ideas, being edited, getting published and more, I wanted them to know that I too still experienced the same. I too wanted them to know that these things were still important to me.
As a principal of 21st century project-based high school that emphasized, among other things, things such as the professional use of social media, publishing, entering contests, presenting and more, I have again tried to model once again to my students that I am a practitioner at heart.
So, I am active on Facebook and Twitter and work to show how they can enhance one’s career and PLN.
I regularly submit applications for conference presenting, awards and other professional programs in order to demonstrate to them that these are lifelong pursuits.
How does this translate into our everyday roles as educators? Doesn’t it seem both appropriate and expected that those who teach and educate should also continue to participate too? Yes, educators must be lifelong practitioners too.
Probably one of the concepts, in theory, that higher education got right was the expectation that professors should publish. It may, like many things, have evolved into something else, but the intent seemed to be about having them continue to do what their students were doing – researching, writing and more.
In a world where education should continue to be more real and relevant to all students, educators need to be sure to model what we expect. If we want students to be lifelong learners, then we have to be as well. If want students to grow and improve, then we have to demonstrate that we are working to do the same continuously. Educators must be practitioners.
(images courtesy of foter)