Yesterday I was thinking about becoming a teacher, a scary prospect for a number of reasons. The truth is, I’m not that academically inclined. I could never be an elementary teacher because I think my math skills are just about at the level of my daughter (she’s 8). For high school I could be an English teacher of course (like the world needs more English teachers?) and I could teach ESL. The thing is, I think most teenagers are way smarter than me. What if I ended up with a classroom of kids who thought I was a stupid old tart?
Then I thought, because I AM perhaps more versed in the art of diplomacy than most teens, that the best thing to do was to ADMIT to my limitations from the get go. In other words, I would make sure my students understand that we are learning together, that I am not the fount of all knowledge on S. E. Hinton or Harper Lee but rather a fellow traveler on the road to greater literary understanding. As a writer I’ve always felt I have much to learn from teenage readers and pick their brains whenever I get the chance. Why should being a teacher be any different?
So maybe it was serendipity when I came across this news item about Adora Svitak educating educators about using Twitter and other social media in their practice. Adora is no stranger to out-thinking her elders of course, and though she’s clearly an extraordinary young woman, I was a little disappointed that it wasn’t just some normal kid who is much more up to date with technology than her teachers. No, she’s a child prodigy who gave a TED Talk when she was 13. Oh well, you’re terrific anyway Adora.