By: Rachel Barry
Funny that I should see this post on Twitter just after having conversations last week in the Collab Lab about the numerous "hats" we wear as teachers. Throughout the average day, there are countless roles that we teachers take on. Most of the time, this is very exciting and fun. Every once in a while, it feels that we are balancing too many hats. One of the reasons that I went into teaching is that no two days are the same. I feel that I am constantly challenging myself to learn new things each day, which can sometimes mean taking on too much and feeling a bit overwhelmed with the number or roles we play. Reading this post helped me realize that we all sometimes need to find a balance to wearing all of our hats.
Though I agree with the list presented in the We Are Teachers blog post, I feel that some didn't apply to me (as a high school teacher) and there were some roles that were left out. Therefore, I decided write this blog to include some additional roles that I feel should be included in this list.
First and foremost, the focus of every day is student learning. In a previous blog post, I discussed the transition of the teacher role from a dominator to that of a facilitator. There is a time and a place for each instructional method, however, the role of facilitator is becoming more important to ensure active learning in the classroom. Therefore, teachers also need to provide students with the resources and facilitate the learning process, instead of simply providing the singular method of direct instruction.
Teachers need to constantly be learning. Many teachers take graduate classes to better use technology in the classroom, obtain an endorsement to teach additional classes, or to earn a degree to become an administrator. At EGHS, many teachers also join in professional learning opportunities that we provide such as Peer Observation Groups or Teaming on Tuesdays.
Teachers design the curricula for a class. Maybe a teacher has a textbook that he/she follows, yet writes warm-ups, tests, quizzes, and other supplemental materials. Maybe, if the teacher is like most at EGHS, they write their own digital curricula. Regardless of the degree to which a teacher writes the curricula for a class, he or she must spend hours designing lesson plans of how to use the provided resources and what resources need to be created. Then, the teacher must create these resources.
Many teachers are coaches or sponsors. An additional stipend is usually provided for the additional time, however, some schools expect you to be involved in some capacity. As a coach myself, I find this to be an added perk of the job, as I get to see a different side to my students and work with students that I don't teach in my classes.
In many school districts, there is a program in place for new teachers to be paired up with a more veteran teacher. First this mentor helps with day-to-day things such as taking attendance electronically, where important locations are in the building, and the different roles of various staff members in the building. Eventually, this role transitions to discussions of classroom instruction, best teaching practices, and observations.
Many students at EGHS will be the first in their family to go to college. Accordingly, these students don't always have someone to advise them on some of their major life decisions going forward. Many planning periods are spent discussing future options with students (past and present) as well as writing letters of recommendation.
Teachers build relationships with their peers, and rely on them for more than just school-related things. A school is a community, so when a fellow teacher is pregnant or getting married, we celebrate! When a peer goes through a loss (family member, house, etc.), we are there to support one another. I cannot express how fortunate I am to have the collaboration and friendships that I have built here at EGHS.
I could probably go on with more roles that we teachers carry (some more humorous such as dress code enforcer, relationship mediator, official PDA reducer, etc.), but I think you see the point. There are many hats worn in this profession. There are many hats worn in all professions. Sometimes as the end of a long day, it is helpful to reflect on all of the different roles I played that day. Maybe I played them well, and maybe I need to work harder at a couple tomorrow. After all, as a teacher, I am a life-long learner!