Drinking the Kool-Aid

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Aug 20 2011

You knew me when

Why don’t we ever see any exemplars before they’re exemplary?

I want to see Taylor Delhagen’s teacher face. I want to see Justin Meli address severe misbehavior in his room. I want to see exactly what Megan Brusseau did to invest her investment-proof kids and their parents. WHY can’t we ever see anyone on their way to being good? Why are people under the impression that it helps us to see classrooms and teachers that are miles away from where we are? It only frustrates us further and makes us vulnerable to making excuses (“But he’s in a charter school”/”But he was teaching social studies, not math”/”but his kids are so much younger”).

I’m not saying I want to copy verbatim every little thing a good teacher does. But seriously—am I the only one who sees value in watching people who aren’t perfect? Yet?

… probably because no one thought they were good enough to record. Humph. I’m taking my flip video to class EVERY DAY and I’m going to POST that shit. And then when I become perfect, then I will have paved the way for educators everywhere.  Heh.

11 Responses

  1. G

    Damn straight! I’ve learned more from watching live teaches than from the exemplary videos (which are edited for our viewing pleasure). I think I am going to record my class on a regular basis this year…just for fun!

  2. zacksg1

    I agree. I’ve seen lots of videos of excellent teachers doing great things with their classes. I’d rather see what they did during the first week of school (and the second week, and the third week, etc.) that got them there.

  3. G


  4. CY

    AMEN. Story of Atlanta Institute this year.

  5. katb

    I agree SO MUCH. I spent all of institute wishing that I could see my school staff when they were starting out so that I could understand how they crawled their ways up the ladder… Seeing the exemplars is just depressing.

  6. Amen! Preach it!

    (Ok, I’ve officially been living in the South too long)

  7. Hannah

    Oh. Yes. Just. YES.

  8. debryc

    Yes! I’m trying to capture the process of becoming a better teacher as well.

  9. Reminds me of our first chat last year about why 1st year teachers are so often so lonely – because the design is flawed and the journey from new to great is so isolated… and isolating.

    I’ve thought from the beginning that you are brave and remarkable in your willingness to tell the truth and share it all. THAT is the most amazing gift that you could possibly share with your peers. Documenting/recording THAT is the most amazing gift that you’ll share with all of the teachers that come after you.

    You rock. I’m following and sharing your journey with WBT!!!

  10. I hope you are aware that a significant portion of this post is featured in the pre-work that was sent to the entire 2012 corps. I recognized the writing immediately.

    They actually directly address your completely valid point (granted, with a “we’re working on it” but still). They’re reeeeeeading you. ;)

    • Wess

      I did NOT know this!! … Did they say it was from a TeachForUs blog?

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