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Teacher to Teacher: Wish List

PAWLP PostBy Janice Ewing

In this season of giving and receiving, of lists and recommendations, I’ve been thinking about teachers, especially new ones, and what they need. So, here’s a wish list for new (and not so new) teachers:

  • Voice: the confidence to share ideas, ask questions, raise doubts about questionable practices and about why things have always been done ‘that way’
  • Agency: the understanding that it is teachers’ day to day and moment to moment decisions, based on knowledge of their students, that move students forward, not following a scripted plan with the goal of raising test scores x number of points for x number of students

  • Creativity: the freedom to use the unique talents, interests, and strengths that each teacher brings to the profession in order to bring learning to life for each unique group of students
  • Breathing space: the acknowledgment of the need to develop familiarity with new practices before additional ones are thrown into the mix
  • Reflection: time, space, and support for teachers to look at their own practice –what to keep, what to change, what resources are needed
  • Collegial planning and sharing: the opportunity to talk with trusted colleagues about what worked, what didn’t and what’s next
  • Inquiry: encouragement to pursue areas of interest and passion for authentic professional learning and growth
  • Freedom from the testing tyranny: using assessment, in all its forms, as a way to truly learn about students and guide instruction
  • Mentors: finding them in a variety of guises – the colleague next door, the Twitter friend, the literacy guru, the supportive administrator
  • Joy: staying in touch with what led us to teaching in the first place – a love of learning and of bringing that love of learning to others

Which of these are on your list? Which one tops the list for you? What would you add? What can you give to another teacher? Please join the conversation.


???????????Janice Ewing is an adjunct for Cabrini College and a co-director for the Pennsylvania Writing & Literature Project. Janice co-facilitates PAWLP’s “Continuity Days” and this blog. She is an avid reader and writer, and especially enjoys writing poems.

10 Comments Post a comment
  1. MP616535 #

    Janice, thank you so much for posting this. I begin the student teaching journey in approximately one month from now, and couldn’t be more excited for what the future holds. This wish list is and will be wonderful to refer to before and during teaching. Teaching is my passion, and I appreciate that you took the time to post this for new (and not so new) teachers.

    Like

    December 20, 2015
    • janiceewing #

      I’m so glad you found this helpful! Best of luck with student teaching — it will be a whirlwind of new experiences and growth!

      Like

      December 20, 2015
  2. Tina DeLiberato #

    Janice, This is a great list and I suggest that it should be on every teachers’ refrigerator to be reviewed, along with a few deep breaths, every morning before leaving for school. I especially related to “mentors”. I am so grateful for the folks who mentored me, and who set the example for me to mentor others when I became an experienced teacher!

    Like

    December 14, 2015
    • janiceewing #

      Tina, I agree. Both sides of the mentoring relationship are among the greatest rewards of teaching. I think we have to be open to them; mentors can be found in many ways.

      Like

      December 15, 2015
  3. Lois R Lamond #

    What a wonderful reflection, my teaching wish list. Besides the items that you have mentioned, I would like to add a friend. Someone who is there to provide a shoulder, a smile and an ear. Someone who is just there for you.

    Like

    December 11, 2015
    • janiceewing #

      Lois, I think that can make all the difference in whether a teacher stays in the profession or not. Literally, at end of the day, often that’s often what is most needed.

      Like

      December 12, 2015
  4. Kathy Barham #

    Yes, Janice, thank you for your generous post and sentiment. If ever a community needed a wish list, it’s the teaching one. While in the teaching trenches, we often face hostility, whether from administrative practices, disgruntled parents, disgruntled students, disgruntled people outside the teaching sphere who wish teachers could prepare students for the world beyond education. Given the state of the world today, the stakes are particularly high. So, thank you again for offering what was often lacking in my own high school teaching experience. Since you asked, I would add to this wish list more inservices with tech-savyy presenters/instructors to prepare older, less tech-savvy teachers like me for the new technological resources available to teachers for providing more relevant instruction to a generation who seem to have technological tendencies in their DNA!

    Like

    December 9, 2015
    • janiceewing #

      Thanks for your comments and for the addition to the wish list. Tech resources are always new and changing!

      Like

      December 11, 2015
  5. Rita Sorrentino #

    Janice, thank you for a timely and inspirational post. New (and not so new) teachers would be delighted with these gifts to sustain and enhance their practice. May I sugest the gift of TIME to be added to the list. Thee is never enough time to do all the things that a teacher wishes to acomplish.Finding time, even small chunks, can help all teachers apprecuate the gifts on this resplendid list.

    Like

    December 9, 2015
    • janiceewing #

      Rita, I agree — time is always in short supply and we’re always pulled in so many directions!

      Like

      December 11, 2015

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