Friday, August 29, 2014

Signs of the Times


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            I saw this verse posted on the desk of one of our teachers earlier this week while I was acting as a temporary substitute in her classroom. I smiled and thought, “How true!” It takes patience, listening, discipline, and instruction--of “Biblical” proportions--to be a teacher in the 21st Century.
Listening, teaching, discipline, and patience--all of these elements are part of the daily routine of teachers. Teachers do teach, delivering instruction and content to our students. If we didn’t do that, we would get fired. And we get better every year at teaching because we develop our craft, intentionally growing and learning and expanding our repertoire of teaching strategies. But we do so much more. We love, even when not loved in return. We correct, we mold, we shape, we forgive, we get forgiveness, and we persist and we hope, even when it seems all hope is gone. That’s a tall order, but it is what we do every day.
We call this school. There are many ideas in our nation about what constitutes a school, and we can learn much from those various ideas. MOOCs, online learning, and other various forms of internet based content delivery systems are now available to us and our students. We at MHS attempt to learn and grow and become all that we can become to better serve our students. Right now our students can watch lectures from the greatest professors in the world with a few clicks and a good wifi connection. They can watch a million “how to” videos on any subject matter imaginable. Truly, the collective intellectual wisdom of the ages is available to whoever has time to look it up. We utilize this technology, as well as many other technologies, to greater serve our students. But they are tools. It is the quality human interaction, the mind-to-mind sharpening, the face-to-face challenge and encouragement, the voice-to voice exchange that truly creates a school.
Mountainburg High School has a great group of teachers. I am honored to serve them, to serve with them, and to stand alongside them. I am honored my own children attend this school because I know that as we grow and adapt new technologies, and as those technologies will some day become obsolete, we will still have caring people who love kids in a place called school.

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