One thing I like to repeat often to my students is that they have many more teachers for my class than just me.
First and last, they have themselves. No one else in the world is more able to see the things they're thinking, the things they're wondering, the things they're confident or unsure about. The journey of education is one that must be walked with one's own two feet. This is why open sourced education projects — e.g., MIT's Open Courseware — have not resulted in a society of geniuses. The learning starts and ends with the learner.
And of course, they also have me. I'm the most expert person in the room on how best to learn my discipline. (And, dear colleague, so too are you.) It's my job to be that. I've made that my business and my craft, to find ways that work best for advancing a learner toward mastery and to make those ways accessible and ubiquitous in my classroom.
And in many classes, they've got other in-person folks, too. Paraprofessionals, classroom observers, ESL specialists, and the like. Schools are filled with teachers like this! (TY to Barbara Ford for this reminder!)
But then they also have all these other potential teachers. There are folks teaching just about any topic taught in school on YouTube these days. In the discipline I'm currently teaching, there are folks like Emily Glankler and Ben Freeman and Steve Heimler. I make it my business to regularly incorporate the work these folks put out into my class. They become guest teachers whom I can pause at any time so that we might discuss or take notes or clear up confusions. (And please, please note — that act of hitting pause is one that sometimes teachers neglect to the great detriment of student focus and attention and learning and growth. Ya gotta pause!)
And then there are the texts we read. Our textbook. Other textbooks. Documents. Articles. News clips.
And I'm telling my students, again and again, “Hey, these are our teachers. We have many teachers. You have many teachers.”
And they do. They really do.
But they often need us to be very repetitive on this front. What we're doing as we point their eyes toward the many teachers they have is gaining them access to a view of the world that is so helpful for a flourishing life. It's a view that says, “Wow. I can learn all the time. I can learn anything, from anyone.”
So, don't be afraid to repeat this kind of thing to your students, this idea of having many teachers.
Best to you, colleague,
Pamela McGowen says
Hello! I love how you emphasize how students can find teachers all around them. I’m a 10th grade English teacher, and I have recently discovered the Mini Moves for Writers channel. Do you have any other YouTube channel recommendations for teaching high school writing skills? Thank you!
Dave Stuart Jr. says
Hi Pamela! Shoot, that is a cool channel — thank you for sharing! I don’t know of any others but perhaps someone else can chime in here in the comments!