All Children Smile in the Same Language: A Teacher's Journey (Hardcover)
As I write this in 2022, we enter year three of a global pandemic. The pandemic's impact on education is already emerging and I suspect will be future research paper fodder. One impact is teacher "fallout" from the profession. Teachers are leaving in record numbers from retirement, early retirement, and even mid-career professionals are abandoning teaching.
So, how do we attract vibrant, creative, and intelligent individuals to this important profession? How do we retain outstanding teachers who are considering leaving the profession?
Instead of ascribing to "scripted curriculums" for teachers, or devising testing strategies to hold teachers accountable, we should focus on strategies to invigorate novice teachers. How can they use their pedagogical skills to create engaging curricula? Teachers become artists when developing story lines for their curriculum that fosters student passions for learning. This approach engages both the student and the teacher to keep everyone intellectually engaged in their profession.
The core struggle between "why I want to teach" and the parameters inflicted on teachers often leads to many exiting the profession within five years. This book examines why I entered this profession and what sustained me through four decades.
At first glance, these essays may appear an unkempt time travel journey flowing between two careers-a high school teacher and a university professor-or too specific to offer pragmatic advice. However, I argue that four essential traits: passion, flexibility, building community, and developing intellectual engagement are needed in the practice of teaching. They are the rudder that guides teachers through the uncharted waters, and will ultimately sustain their fire for making a difference in children's lives.
The format I offer are personal essays and reflections built around these four cornerstones of good teaching. Each cornerstone contains several essays that relate to that theme. While there are many books written about educational pedagogy as well as methodology, this collection is about why individuals go into teaching and what sustains their passion to continue.
My intended audience includes preservice teachers, beginning teachers, experienced teacher-leaders who coach new teachers, and all those interested in how education happens. Let's roll up our sleeves and get started.