As Dr. Oglialoro and I undertake annual classroom observations of teachers we are reminded again that teaching is so much more that what is learned in college education classes and in-service training. And that is why I say teaching is an art and excellent teachers are true artists.
Each artist is distinctive and unique. And so are teachers. Each artist has favorite media or techniques. Teachers have special gifts that vary from classroom to classroom.
It would be weird to say that one artist is not as good because his or her creation looks different or uses different colors or materials than some other artist. By the same token, teachers use different techniques and approaches that are unique to that teacher.
The art is judged based on it being pleasing to the eye or on its ability to stir emotion or thought. The work of a teacher is evidenced in student performance, for sure. But it is also measured in how the child grows as a learner, as a citizen, as a responsible and more self-directed person. At SPLS it is also measured in growing and deepening faith in God and His gift of a Savior, Jesus.
Not all teachers get to these goals the same way. And that is the beauty of doing these observations. There are teachers who teach in a way that is similar to how Dr. Oglialoro teaches or how I teach. And there are those who teach quite differently. But we, as administrators, get to enjoy those differences and can see how they play out for students who are engaged, growing learners.
Do we offer input and suggestions and even an occasional strong recommendation? At times, of course. Just like artists, teachers get better with feedback and with learning new techniques and approaches.
And teachers, just like all of us, are works of art being shaped by our Father. Jeremiah reminded the people that we are being formed, and reformed, by God, our potter. Through errors, confession, repentance, redirecting, and restoration, we all are able to be formed into something even more beautiful and amazing.
But sometimes it is just nice to visit those art studios we call classrooms and see the artist at work.
In His Children’s Service, Robert C. Boyd