The video, “When I Become a Teacher” is all about stating the opposite of what good teaching should look like. It reminded me of parodies that Armstrong and Miller, two stand-up comedians from the UK, did about becoming a teacher. Here are two examples:

Here are more examples of  their “Be a Teacher” sketches.

There are many jokes and stereotypes about teaching in the world and as teachers we all know that there is much more to teaching than meets the eye. What I find sad about the video “When I Become a Teacher”, is that these statements, although prehaps exagerated, are probably drawn from reality. Although one would hope otherwise, there could still be teachers out there that think like this.

I remember a conversation I had with some college friends of mine, all working in industries unrelated to education, and we were discussing holidays we were going to take soon. I brought up a trip that I was going to take to the U.S. to visit friends but also to attend a workshop. The reason I still remember this conversation so vividly was because of the questions that followed:

“Why do you have to attend workshops?” 

“What is ‘professional development’?” 

“Once you’ve gotten your degree don’t you already know how to teach and go from there?” 

The strangest part was that they all genuinely had no idea and really wanted to understand the purpose of why I always was going to different courses and workshops. I feel like sometimes those of us in teaching tend to forget that those on the outside simply just don’t know how much our profession involves change and evolution. So when I read this line in Shaping Tech for the Classroom by Marc Prensky,

A second key barrier to technological adoption is more challenging. Schools (which really means the teachers and administrators) famously resist change.

I immediately grew defensive because I don’t think that thre are many professions that have to change and adapt in the same ways or as often as we do, on top of all of that, everyone has their opinions on what teaching and learning should look like, so who’s right? Reading on, the latter part of that paragraph does describe why it is difficult for educators to just drop the old in an instant and pick up the new, and there is a “delicate balance between many sets of pressures — political, parental, social, organizational, supervisory, and financial” (Prensky 2005). I think that the word “resist” may not be particularly fair or accurate, because we’ve been trained to be reflective on our practices. To be reflective, to me, is a process that takes time, research and understanding before being able to properly apply any new learning and/or teaching tool. How many literacy and math curricula are out there for schools to purchase? New ones are being developed all the time as well! If we’re allowed time to do the proper research and analysis about how each of these choices match our school, our kids and how to best use them, why aren’t we given the same amount of time to adjust to the use of technology in the classroom? The key difference I would say is the pace at which the world of technology moves compared to how long it takes to develop a brand new literacy, math or science program. My bottom line here is, I don’t think teachers should be faulted for wanting to take the time to understand technology and its benefits, yes it’s slow, but once you reach a certain comfort level, learning will automatically speed up. I do however, understand that this isn’t the only reason why teachers resist technology, I just think that this is the first time something so fast-paced has been introduced to education, so there’s still a lot of fumbling and feeling around for the best ways to integrate it into our classrooms. At the end of the day, we all just want what’s best for the kids, right?

2 Responses

  1. Hi Pana, Yes, you are right. Teachers just want what’s the best for kids. That’s why teachers also need to “learn”, not just “teach”, especially in the digital age that everything changes quickly. I think I can understand your feeling because many friends of mine have the same opinion as your friend who considers being a teacher is free and easy and don’t need to develop self. It might work decades ago, but not for now definitely. It’s really take time to research and understand before being able to properly apply any new learning and/or teaching tool, but it is worth. Once teachers picked suitable tools for kids, I believe we will see the growth of learning efficiency and proficiency. The key point is that teachers have to step the first step. Moreover, as you said “I don’t think teachers should be faulted for wanting to take the time to understand technology and its benefits”, teachers can learn and grow with students, I believe.

    1. Teachers definitely can learn and grow with students. However, I watched a video today that opened my eyes to a point I hadn’t thought about before. So, it may have changed my mind as to how urgent it is we start learning about technology. We are living in a world that is growing more and more to be controled by science and technology. We live with it everyday, and yet not many people in the world truely UNDERSTAND it. If you think of the implications of our future and who is defining what it will look like, it can be pretty scary if majority of the people that make up our world DON’T understand the things that are defining our everyday lives. How can we make informed choices or vote for the right causes if we dont’ understand what’s happening in the development of science and technology?

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