An interesting quote by Robert Frost passed through the Twitter and Pinterest networks recently that started me thinking about the role of the educator in this time of challenge and change.
"I am not a teacher, but an awakener."
Focusing on the underlined word in the quote solidified an image of whom an awakener might be. Although I have not found the context for Frost's statement, I propose that an awakener is a reflective, passionate practitioner, observer of life and relationships, who ignites his/her surroundings; creates interest in topics through collaborative discourse; invites others to explore, question, and discover additional avenues to learning. With clarity of vision, an awakener sees limitless possibilities and with a growth mindset fosters a spirit of positivity. He/she impacts learning through critical thinking, collaborative moves, and active engagement, influencing the development of a change-focused culture.
To support my thinking, I created the visual above. Coupling this image with Stronge's statement about the teacher being the "most influential school-related force in student achievement," solidified my notion that the educator is the awakener, the essential change agent of learning environments. In various studies, teachers have been recognized as facilitators and guides on students' journeys. With their expertise they provide the scaffolds necessary for students to become problem solvers, synthesizers of information, and independent learners, able to deal positively with 21st century issues. As reflective practitioners, teachers are pivotal forces, helping students become better at what they need to know and be able to do to meet the rigors of the Information Age and Common Core State Standards. Teachers awaken the mind and senses to embrace learning in innovative ways.
These awakeners are visible in classrooms as modelers of learning, in PLCs as collegial collaborators, and in online conversations and training sessions as thinkers and learners. They listen intently, collaborate, and strategically plan how to use their new knowledge to impact teaching and learning. They are the front line instructors who create passion-filled learning spaces supported by a belief in the "I Can Do This" message. Positivity guides these teachers, awakeners of learning, as they support students in becoming critical thinkers of the Information Age.
With the national concern to accelerate all learners' growth an urgent matter, classrooms need to be facilitated by awakeners. Through collaboration, reflection on past practices, and shifts in thinking, literacy landscapes can be redesigned to provide vigorous, high quality learning opportunities for students. The potential is there to energize education through active awakenings. It is the noticings, wonderings, and discoveries that will propel us forward as we, instructional leaders, continue to be the awakeners of learning.
“Students learn only from teachers who are themselves in the process of learning."
Learner - Awakener - Change Agent
Be Positive Poster created by Team 1, Beaumont, Metzak, Naggar, Plattner @ Silas Wood Sixth Grade Center, SHUFSD, 2014