I am more than a teacher — are you?

I used to have a podcast that was simply a “stream of consciousness.”  I might have a concise thought to start with, but where the podcast would go or end up was anyone’s guess.  This post kind of reminds me of that podcast.  It’s a very rough series of four connected ideas.  It all started with the thought “I am more than a teacher.” 

I am more than a teacher.  I am a parent to 100 kids.  Some kids don’t want to hear that, and some parents do not want to hear that.  The fact is, I am with my students more than many of their parents on any weekday.  I am with them more hours during the day than I am with my own children. Whether they like it or not, I will treat them as though they are my children…and I tell them so. 

A couple of hundred years ago in New England this would not have been the case.  Children would have been in constant contact with their parents.  They would have been working side-by-side with them.  Family, rather than school, would have been the primary socializer in kids’ lives.  The rules of social behavior would have matched the families’ belief system that existed in the community.  Growing up was a slow progression towards gaining “adult skills,” both social and mechanical.  School was dispersed of when the child was capable of more valuable work on the farm.  The school master was there only to check on the students’ progress in reading, writing, and math.  Everything else was left to the family, and the community. ‘Growing up” was a continuous process which slowly phased into off farm work and independence for the males, and one that ended a bit more abruptly for females when they got married and left their family.  There were no grades, graduations, or ceremonies to make the transition from one stage to another.

My kids get bounced from teacher to teacher each year.  During the day they get bounced from teacher to teacher every 50 minutes.  How many minutes a day do they spend with their parents? Not in the same house, but “with” them.   If it was more than 50 minutes I would be surprised, nothing wrong with the parents, just a reality check.

So for 50 minutes each day I am their dad whether they like it or not.  Whether I like it or not.  With that comes the acceptance that I teach life first, content second.  I embrace it.  I wonder how kids will be “socialized” when they really do not have a constant adult in their life, or if they have an adult in their class that is only interested in dumping content into their souls?  Do they end up socializing themselves?  

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