Our True Job as Educators
We are swimming in the Information Age. With just a click, we can find the answers to any question we have. We can communicate with other countries without paying a cent in international phone charges. This was not so just 20 years ago. So where does education fit into this capability we now have? How does this new way in which we live influence education?
It has been becoming glaringly obvious to me, that our job as educators has changed. We are no longer the ‘holder’ of that sacred information which we want to relay to others. (This way of thinking about teaching never really felt right to me anyhow.) When I was in the classroom, the feeling of being the ‘sage on the stage’ felt contrived and false. If we are no longer the sages, then what purpose do we serve as educators? We serve the utmost important purpose of creating close and authentic relationships with our students and providing authentic experiences for them to have while in our presence. We let them get dirty and messy. We let them experiment. We let them follow their individual interests. We let them explore. This is the new role of the educator. We are here now to provide them with experiences so they can have the self-confidence to seek their own answers. We are their guide as they navigate this process. Through this way of learning, they will become the critical thinkers that the school systems are focusing on making these days. The STUDENTS are responsible for their learning. Our job is to make sure they know that, truly believe it, and have the confidence to do something about it.
These heartfelt truths are at the core of the programs that I do. I want my students to get THEIR hands on the telescopes. I want THEM to be INVOLVED in the learning process. There is time and place for information relay and a bit of the ‘sage’ comes out, but these moments are often prompted by their self-motivated questions. This takes a truly present person who is there to honestly make relationships. It takes practice and experience, and I don’t always come from this place. When I don’t, I leave a program feeling it, knowing it and looking forward to doing it better the next time.