And so God raised his mighty hand and said, “Let there be a supreme being above fault and above error. I will grant to this Earth a being that I will name Teacher.” Cue in the strains of chorus melody and parting of clouds as said teacher floats slowly and softly down from the Heavens, protractor in one hand, ruler in another.
No. Not quite.
I used to look upon my educators as beings of perfection. I could not fathom them burning dinner at home, accidentally belching in the middle of a Hilton Hotel, or knocking over a display case of Smuckers Jams and Jellys at Albertsons. I am semi-proud to say I have done all of the above. And, what is more, I have informed my students of these facts.
But why would I share some of my more embarrassing moments with my younger usurpers of knowledge? Why would I willingly share some of my less finer moments? Because back when I was in school I looked in total awe and fascination when I discovered one of my teachers shopping at the local Sears, or eating a hamburger at, of all places, Burger King! I would sit there slack jawed until one of my siblings would shake me out of my stupor. Yes, indeed, my teachers were quite human, just like me.
But again, why share this commonality with others? Should educators not be held high on a pedestal with our great amount of knowledge bestowed on younger tykes on a daily basis? Well, yes and no. From an educators perspective (and many others) there are few jobs more important or fulfilling. Teaching is the job that creates all others, whether taxpayers grumble about it or not. But it remains important to show students that we are humans as well. Students will often catch me writing grammatically incorrect on the whiteboard and bring this to my attention. Kudos to them! Sometimes it is done on purpose and shows that they are paying attention. Other times, it is Mr. Kreusch being quite tired and not proofreading thoroughly enough before leaving for the day (I always write my notes for the next day on the whiteboard before heading home). I always tell them it was done on purpose, then wink. They know better. I have been caught writing “Good Jorp!” on a paper, tripping and nearly falling over a desk, knocking over my podium, and dropping a mound of papers roughly the size of the Sears Tower. Always with good humor (especially in middle school, otherwise prepare to be laughed at the rest of your career) I will mark a snarky comment regarding my grace and elegance. In turn, students will learn that it is OK to make errors for the teacher, and therefore acceptable to make their own mistakes.
Also, when students discover that their teachers make errors, a closer level of familiarity sets in. A classroom is a place of learning, and making mistakes is part of the eternal learning process. (Next time I will not stack my paper mounds quite so high and I will leave plenty of room to excavate around my podium). Perhaps I am to be held on a pedestal for educating, perhaps not. Teacher and student are both in the educational process together, and I am often marveled by how my students can often teach me a thing or two (especially when it comes to technology). But no educator worth his weight in gold should appear “holier than thou.”