Remember your best learning experience? Chances are it wasn’t a test, a skill, or a set of facts. Chances are it was the interactions and relationships while completing some assignment. Chances are it was the “doing,” and most often the “doing together.”
Why do we or should we celebrate teachers? Because they dare to find the best in the students and the best ways to engage them. Because they dare to overcome the outside mandates and create learning experiences that matter most: a classroom community of learning together using the strengths students bring to help each other learn. It’s creating that atmosphere of doing and learning together — and learning how to do that — which helps kids learn what it means to participate, support, and succeed in any endeavor.
Teachers reach each kid, and guide each of them to reach out to others to share what they know. Teachers nurture a sense of community so that each person can become a leader of their communities in the future.
They embody, in small and large moments of learning, what John Dewey explained:
Give the pupils something to do, not something to learn;
and the doing is of such a nature
as to demand thinking;
they are the human element of the classroom that inspires the future.
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