Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Are teachers born or made?

Are teachers born or made?  I live in the realm of licensing, of pre-service teachers, certification and MATs. Yet, I have yet to come to terms with not only what makes a good teacher, but how does one become one? I am reminded of my colleagues that have no teaching certification what so ever, yet are some of the best teachers I know. I remember some of my fellow teachers that had all the right papers, but could never command a classroom. Why is that? I have tried to make sense of it all, and as proud as I am of my institution and the strives the we make, I have to recognize that some people are just born teachers. Maybe teaching is more like an art than a science. Artists can still be artists without all the fancy degrees, but yet people still go to school to hone their craft, to learn more why they do what they do. Does that make it a waste of time? Do they become better artists? How can we grow to respect teaching as a talent as much as or even more than a piece of paper can prove?


Leroy's Mom said...

Hmm, some teachers may be "born" but there are not enough of those to staff our schools at adequate levels. There are other folks that with good instruction and preparation can become good and even excellent instructors. We don't expect our kids to rest on their "natural" talents, but instead to expand and improve them. Why would we build a model of our profession that does that? I think we need to look seriously at our teacher preparation programs which I think are being asked to do too much, too quickly because it's both cheaper and more expedient.

MusickEd.com said...

I think like any discipline, teaching takes work and persistence. I also believe that some people have a natural inclination to teach and the good ones seem to innately have more of the personal skills it takes to 'command'. We sometimes fall into the trap of teaching 'like we were taught' to the detriment of our students and the profession itself. But the future is bright - I think technology will allow for a new generation of instructors to reach and inspire learners on a whole new level.

Caryn said...

Someone once told me (I think you know who I'm talking about!) that many people who become teachers do so because they like the sense of order and the feeling of accomplishment that comes with completing paperwork / assignments. It may be that they also enjoy learning for the sake of learning, want to pass that on, and *want* to help others learn... but if they're not flexible enough to adapt to different learning styles, it's just not going to happen. I think that, to be a really good and effective teacher, you have to be able to get into the heads of your students. You can't force your students to conform to you, you need to flexible enough to figure out to reach people and pull them in.
Granted, there are plenty of kids out there who need to learn the "right way" to do things in say, the corporate world (ie: don't send your boss an email with "OMG!"). You can't just start from opposite ends of the spectrum, though, and force them to come to you. You've got to find some middle ground and pull them along, and you might learn something new yourself along the way.
I think THAT is the difference between people who are born teachers and those who perhaps not so much!