This is to the ordinary teacher. The ordinary teacher who can't tell constructivism from behaviourism; who can't discern assessment of learning from assessment for learning; who thinks PowerPoint is an effective use of technology in learning; who still struggles to understand the nuances of knowing and understanding.
I'm sorry for looking at your word-chocked slides with disdain. For ridiculing your worksheets because the font was 'so cheesy'. For criticising your drill and practice classes as outdated and oppressive. For treating with contempt your pedagogy as traditional and backward. For criticising your focus on test results because for all that hullaballoo, recruiters and employers still care about them.
I salute your perseverance. As you watch those with no heart nor skill surge past because of their talents in administration; as you watch students disconnect because you can't capture or engage like the teacher next door; while others comment and criticise the rightness or wrongness of your methods, all you do is persevere to walk beside and sometimes carry your students there.
I commend your sincere, authentic love and care for students. Each day, you give the best of your knowledge and strength in the hope that it will somehow someday make a difference. Students come and go, and some never see the value of what you do. Of those who see, only a few return to say their thanks. Yet each year, you step into a new class ready to give your all.
But this is not permission nor validation, to remain as you are; to snub at administrators, researchers and intellectuals; to resist change and fear failure; to hide behind tests with the excuse that results are all that matters; to lead unbalanced lives saying 'it's all about the students.' We teach who we are and students will and forever need teachers who are whole in heart, body and mind to emulate.
If we truly care and love what we do. Then no matter our age, no matter the difficulty, no matter our experience, no matter our expertise, we must all strive to excel in our craft and profession. To read, to listen, to learn. In the end, it is through skill and knowledge that we achieve. Intention alone, no matter how noble, is insufficient.
Heart, head, hands. Without hands, nothing is achieved. Without the head, no plans made. Without the heart, achievements and plans remain hollow. Therefore, read regularly to feed your mind; connect openly to grow your heart; rest regularly to restore the body.
Who am I? I am you. Who are you? You are me. Any teacher who has walked the journey long enough would have been both I and You at one point or another. In the end, it's having the wisdom to understand that we teach who we are, and the humility to accept that who we are is never good enough.