The Sign Of The Amateur Educator

 "The sign of the amateur is the overglorification of and the preoccupation with the mystery."
This fantastic line comes from a must read: The War Of Art by Steven Pressfield.  Please read it.
Closer inspection will prove rewarding.

Before we look at the actual sign(s) of the amateur, let's clarify what the sign of the amateur is referring to.  Educators embody unique characteristics based on their level of "get it."  Teachers who "get it" exude the "get it" glow.  Be it a fire in their eyes or an aura, you know when an educator "gets it."

This article describes the difference between an amateur educator and a professional educator based on the "get it" factor.

Professional educators "get it".  Amateur educators don't, yet.  The sign refers to the characteristics that an amateur exhibits that clearly screams "I don't get it!"

The education community has been trying to define, characterize, study, assess, and describe what "get it" tangibly translates to.  This is not an easy job and we have not been successful.

The "get it" factor loosely translates to best practice.  Best practice is sharing what works; those that "get it" try to help people who don't quite "get it" yet by telling them what to do.

Pressfield concludes his statement with "the mystery."  Sounds deep doesn't it?  But really, it isn't.

The mystery in education lies within itself.  There is, unfortunately, no answer to the education mystery: how do we best teach children?  The mystery of education is created by a roundtable of every-changing variables that effect teachers.  Because theses factors are constantly changing, the answer to the mystery is never within reach.

As Pressfield states, an amateur over-glorifies and becomes preoccupied with the mystery.  They dwell and perseverarate on what they think is an obtainable answer.  Mornings, nights, weekends, and summers they try and find an answer to the mystery by clarifying the variables rather than improving their craft.

Stated differently, amateur educators don't "get it" because they try to control the variables that effect education rather than understanding the one thing they can control: themselves.

Amateur educators, when reflecting, make excuses that place fault outside of themselves: "the lesson didn't work because Jacob was off his meds... Sally did not turn in her homework because she has no help at home... my administrator failed to see the exceptional components of my lesson."  All of these are variables that create the mystery.

Professional educators realize that the mystery is answerless.  Their reflection looks different "Jacob doesn't receive his meds regularly, maybe I incorporate kinesthetic activities to allow for his constant movement... Sally has no parental support, perhaps we spend one day a week to work exceptional lesson components need to shine brighter to eclipse the negative aspects."

Education is not about solving the education mystery by getting a handle on the variables.

Effective "get it" education is about solving one's own mystery.

When you dedicate time to solving yourself, you'll "get it."

I'll conclude with a bit of wisdom from Pressfield as some inspiration.  You need to believe that you're a professional already.  Realize this about yourself:
“We’re all pros already. 1) We show up every day 2) We show up no matter what 3) We stay on the job all day 4) We are committed over the long haul 5) The stakes for us are high and real 6) We accept remuneration for our labor 7) We do not overidentify with our jobs 8) We master the technique of our jobs 9) We have a sense of humor about our jobs 10) We receive praise or blame in the real world”
Thanks for reading.

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