Teachers will never be obsolete!

I live in the woods on the top of a ridge in West Virginia. It was my intention just to let the woods grow back in after building our home last year… but I just can’t do it. I have an area on which I have been planting perennials thinking I would just let them grow wild, trying desperately not to place the plants in symmetrical patterns… I’m failing miserably. This morning Tom planted 12 Black-eyed Susan plants for me as I cleared away the plants that were growing naturally that I just didn’t like… thus they are weeds.

I just prefer order to chaos. Try as I might to be cool and free and easy going… my natural inclination make a to-do list and line up the items on my desk takes over.

So while I was removing the unwanted plants (weeds) this morning, and Tom was demonstrating his love for me by doing his most hated task – gardening – he says, “Are you ever going to be finished planting?”

“No.”

That reminded me of another question he has asked me several times, “Are you ever going to retire?”

“No.”

I will always be planting… I will always be learning and teaching.

As teachers this is exactly what we do – please forgive the analogy – once an English teacher, always an English teacher – We give order to the chaos of our students’ lives. We plant good things in their minds and lives and try our best to fight back the weeds.

Will Richardson said something in the ISTE session I attended that resonated with me… but now I’m thinking about it differently. He said in effect that if a student can answer any question we ask by looking it up on a SmartPhone, we need to start asking different questions. I agreed… but now I’m not so sure. Yeah, they can look up anything they want and find an answer… they can learn how to do anything they want by asking Siri or finding a YouTube video… but how do they know what questions they should be asking? How do they know what good things they should be learning unless we tell them and ask the important questions?

There is so much information available to our students these days – they are bombarded with it. I have heard that teachers are afraid that with the onslaught of technology that teachers will become obsolete – never! We are the filters!  We are the gardeners pulling the weeds of the crap that infiltrates the lives of our students and planting the good stuff – the flowers, the vegetables – those great ideas that make them think and wonder and want to know more.

Yep… I’m just going to keep planting… keep weeding… keep learning… teaching… thinking… growing… wondering… living…

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