I've never been to a museum where all the art pieces were the same.
I've never logged on to Netflix to discover that all the movies are in the same genre.
I've never been to a potluck where everyone was encouraged to bring same dish.
But, I have heard of schools where they wanted all teachers to be the same; to teach the same lesson, in the same way, on the same day, to get an standard product from the students.
So, does that sound like teaching, or is this more like factory work?
I know of brilliant teachers, that if only given a little more autonomy, could transform their emasculated classrooms into a World’s Fair of Ideas: A symbiotic atmosphere where learning is as intuitive as breathing. Where a consumption of ideas is intrinsically driven and kids are too busy learning about their interests rather than being bored enough to start picking on one another. It’s a place where cognition is fostered by care, not created through coercion.
These teachers know that getting kids to learn is easy - but systematizing the process isn't.
They are the same teachers who fight off those feelings of afternoon apathy; who meet the needs of mandates, but don't allow those mandates to dictate their instruction. They are the teachers who know kids don't learn all the same way, so they don't approach their everyday pedagogy the same way.
They are the teachers who are eternal optimists. Who choose to believe a time is coming where parents will hail the significance of teachers, where the society will value education, and where educators are paid according to their skills; not seniority and rank.
These are the heroes, these teachers, who choose to fight for the individual personhood of kids; who treat each child with individualized care and attention no matter how systematized things become. They are the teachers who boast of variety, welcome all diversity, and break through hostility.
These are teachers.
This can’t be taught. This can’t be replicated. This isn't factory work.