There are some 7.2 million teachers in the United States. Some are good, some are bad. Some are luddites and some are patiently waiting the singularity.
The biggest trick for me, as a teacher (or in my current case, semi-teacher), is to connect with other creative educators who think outside the box. In the past I always could find a few in my district (or maybe, if I was lucky, in my school). But even in those cases you sometimes suffer from group think. For better or for worse, your lens on the educational field is colored by district policies, goals, etc.
But a few inventions have really changed this problem of connecting with the creative and intelligent teacher masses. One invention is the teacher blog. Many super star teachers blog and share what’s going on in their classroom. They seek each other out and comment on each others’ blogs. They get into pedagogical arguments that challenge the status quo. They brainstorm ideas and failures.
They keep learning (something a disturbingly large portion of teachers stop doing after year 5).
Dan Meyer posts a short commercial that sums up, from his perspective, how this works. Take a look.
ADE Application Video — Dan Meyer from Dan Meyer on Vimeo.
For me, this is were all the fun is in the profession. Learning new things. Being pushed to try things in different ways. Trying to define (and redefine) excellence and then trying to reach it.
What a cool job.