What a Maker Teacher Does


by Sylvia Martinez -

I'm just loving the variety of posts here! Reading the last few weeks, it really made me think about the role of the teacher/leader in creative, hands-on classrooms and educational spaces. In these posts, we can see that teachers are planners, observers, catalysts, researchers, yearners, gurus, thinkers, and yes - makers! It's such a colorful palette of roles when compared to the perception of the teacher as a content delivery system and classroom manager. 

How do we convey this complexity to the general public? Or even more daunting, to parents, children, families, politicians, and communites we work with?

You all are obviously doing it locally by example, and by sharing these posts, spreading it wider.

It's an interesting dilemma, to exist in a space where people think they "know" how it works (after all, everyone has been to school) and yet the memories seem to merge towards a common misty memory of TV and movie portrayals of classrooms from Welcome Back Kotter to Room 222 and now Glee or even The Wire. In these classrooms, teachers who are inspirational are almost always portrayed as fighting the system - like Dead Poets Society, or idiot savants like School of Rock. In the media, teachers are mostly dramatic devices who simply act as a foil for the more interesting lives of their students who aren't allowed to really express themselves in the boring nothingness of school.

So even popular culture expresses this discontinuity between the boring, bored, and disconnected teacher vs. the ideal of connected, interested, and interesting teacher. Yet the first is the typical (and accepted) and the later the exception (yet yearned for).

The only way I see to change this is to keep doing what we are doing! Sharing these posts that illustrate the rich and complex story of what it means to be a teacher and what these learning spaces look like. You all inspire me so much!




Heather Pang's picture

What can we do to push back against that image of a teacher being boring and bored? I know it is part of our culture, but I know many well intentioned, not boring, amazing teachers, who manage, even in a system we struggle to change, to do a great job.  As we fight to make the system better, can we be sure we don't contribute to that public perception of teachers as lazy and boring?

Tracy Rudzitis's picture

I have been thinking about this a lot of late. Sometimes to the point where I become overly discouraged and feel defeated because there seems to be so many hurdles and challenges when it comes to making school interesting for children. It is not only the adults who have stereotypical or fixed ideas about school and boredom, many students I teach at the middle school level already know the drill, don't expect much from the actual content, and have checked their creativity and engagement at the school doors as they walk through each morning. There is such a range, not only between school districts and schools, but between subjects and classes within schools, as far as what constitutes learning and "being taught" and what a student must do in a classroom to get that grade that will make their parents happy. I am not a fan of making school fun at the expense of "hard fun" (Papert), I see so many instances where rewards are non-academic, movies, no homework, pizza lunches, free time, using computers to Google anything you want, in my perfect world (LOL) the students would have internalized the relationship between hard work and reward and how the work and understanding is what produces the reward.

Karolina's picture

You have a lot of right. I am a teacher from Poland and I am reading here sometimes. I am a young informatic teacher and try to be very open to all my students. After 2 years of triing to give them something we have created a simple platform named mbazar. I see that every student taking part in the project are proud of themself. I see 3 students that see they can and started programming for their own. Think like that make me happy everyday when I drink my first coffee :D