Monday, October 14, 2013

I Want To Be A Teacher

I follow a wonderful Facebook page called Humans of New York. It’s a page that photographer Brandon Stanton put together to curate the images of the incredible cross section of humanity that resides in New York City. He talks to these people and photographs them and shares their stories on his Facebook page. You can access his page HERE.  As you scroll through his page, you’ll notice that on October 1st, he featured our own Heidi Hayes Jacobs, who shared the following:

"There's three things you can do when life sends a wave at you. You can run from it, but then it's going to catch up and knock you down. You can also fall back on your ego and try to stand your ground, but then it's still going to clobber you. Or you can use it as an opportunity to go deep, and transform yourself to match the circumstances. And that's how you get through the wave."

I’m so impressed with what Brandon does. He is visually cataloguing the people of the melting pot in New York City, but he’s also collecting their stories--sharing a positive side of humanity that is so desperately needed in our world today.

Today’s entry involved this young man:

Brandon had the following conversation with this boy:

"Why are you wearing a pilot's outfit?"
"I wear it every day."
"Do you want to be a pilot when you grow up?"
"No, I want to be a teacher."
"Why aren't you wearing a teacher's outfit?"
"I don't have one."

I thought this was a huge message for today’s teacher. We are still inspiring the next generation. We are still solidly having an effect on the future.

In this day and age of educational nitpickery, I think it’s extremely important to look for the bright spots and use them for both furthering our cause and believing that we are doing what’s best for our children.

I was going to write this week about standards based education and how we swim through the hoopla to get to the root of why we do what we do. This picture and conversation changed my whole mindset this week.

This child values our profession. What better validation do we need?

If you’d like to know more about Humans of New York, Brandon Stanton has just released a book about the portraits and stories he’s collected. You can access the link HERE. You can also follow him on Facebook using the link above or ACCESS HIS WEBSITE.

I thought it was important today to remind teachers how much of a difference they really make. I thought it was important to remind you that you are shaping the future outside of the bureaucracy and national fluff movements. You are needed, you are important, and you are incredible. Every President, every engineer, every scientist, every pilot--needs a teacher. It’s just really cool that this little pilot wants to be a teacher too.

Our value has not diminished. Your value has not diminished.

Pat yourselves on the back, teachers. You are still inspiring the next generation.

Follow Mike on Twitter:

Upgrade Your Curriculum, now available from ASCD
Digital Learning Strategies: How Do I Assign and Assess Digital Work? coming this Winter from ASCD

Picture and conversation copyright Brandon Stanton and used with permission.

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