When are you too old to be presenting ideas to teachers/educators? That’s where my head is right now.
Part of me wants to be sitting on a seawall looking at the waves come in. The other part of me wonders if I should be looking at options to talk with educators about “being the best teacher they can be.” Of course there is this little voice (actually a very loud and boisterous voice) in my head that keeps reminding me that I haven’t been in the classroom since the middle of the pandemic. And, “nobody wants to hear an old guy who hasn’t even been in the classroom lately! “
Non-teacher friends tell me that I still have a lot to offer and, heck, “you’ve written three books on the subject!” And so the question sits in the air – “How relevant are you old man?” In my younger days I would see old guys roll into the room for a PD (professional development) and I would immediately question the currency of whatever they were about to tell us. I mean they “haven’t been in the classroom in 10 years (eye roll)”
I want to be leading the pack. I really do. I still have thoughts about the teaching profession and I want to help teachers. But will they want to follow me if they are concerned about the miles that have passed by since I was presenting new and cutting edge teaching ideas and strategies? The list of things that I”m concerned with include (but are not limited to):
- students experiencing inquiry and exploration;
- students feeling cared for and safe;
- teachers feeling cared for and safe;
- students, and their teachers, given opportunities to make mistakes without fear of retribution;
- math classrooms where all of the above items are the norm.
As I look to options on where I can go from here, I know that I don’t want to be in the classroom every day. I also don’t want to work for a school or district coaching teachers or doing other work simply to “be active.” I do want to help students and I do want to help teachers. But I want to be very flexible with my time. In thinking about these seemingly disparate things [helping students/teachers but not having a job helping students/teachers], I came up with a list of things I could do, that includes:
- Writing posts on this blog that come out regularly with a set content calendar.
- Creating podcasts that come out regularly with a set content calendar.
- Creating video that comes out regularly with a set content calendar.
- Speaking at education themed conferences.
- Speaking to teachers/admin on professional development days.
As I get ready to turn 65 (and the Medicare hounds are kept at bay) I do have things to offer. I do have ideas to spread. And, I do want to actively help students and teachers. So I think it’s time to create a content calendar. Since I’m starting this in the middle of the school year I can start with ideas that focus on keeping the learning going. Then transition to plans for wrapping up the school year before I start with thoughts on getting ready to start the school year. Once I have a content calendar I will decide the medium I want to use. And then I just need to adhere to it.
The plan of attack will be the next post. Stay tuned and wish me luck.
Hi friend. First off , you’re not old , because if YOU are , then I am . I encourage you to do a regular pod cast that possibly has interviews with new and alternative teaching methods, such as the “ outdoor “ teaching trend that continues to grow. And perhaps discussing old ways vs new ways . My family taught this way successfully in the 1940’s, and it is popular again today .
Well hell, I know YOU aren’t old. Maybe I could have you as one of my podcast guests down the road. I’ll let you know. Thank you for leaving a comment here.
Learn about using social media to promote what you know about education. I have a friend that grew a youtube site. A great learning opportunity for you and also share. Learn, Share and Grow!
I have lots of options, that’s for sure. I’ve been active on Twitter for 11 years and have been writing blog posts for almost as long. I am leaning towards blog posts and podcasts. Thank you for your thoughts.
The guy sitting on the wall looking out to sea reminded me of you. But, I’m pretty sure it wasn’t you.
Education is one of the few professions, if not the only one, where the members of the profession think that the only individuals who can inform educational practice are those that are currently engaged in educational practice. No one else acts like that. For example, when a new school is designed, there are multiple consulting groups that are brought in (technology, traffic flow, many others) that inform the design of the school. Imagine if architects only said: Nope, only architects can contribute because only architects know everything about this because we are practicing architects. Not being in the classroom can never be a metric that defines a person’s ability to contribute to the educational profession. Rather, it is exactly what education needs. Schools, and educational practice, are in dire need of an innoculation of new ideas, as well as those that are based in the wisdom acquired by years of thoughtful and contemplative practice. The belief that that you can only contribute to helping education is that you are still in front of kids is an arrogant and baseless stance.
Thanks David. You’ve hit on the reason I opened with “a look inside my mind.” It is definitely a struggle between me and myself. I also struggle with the fact that I do not have an EdD/PHD. I know it’s silly – all part of the imposter syndrome.
You will forever be relevant, brilliant, and offer so much to this community (and many others). I’m grateful you’re planning to continue to participate where you think is best for you, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t other arenas that wouldn’t benefit from your expertise, friend. You’re damn good at being a teacher, and an all around fantastic human. So there. ☺️❤️
Thank you for your thoughts and I hope I can count on your brilliance as I plan my future. There might be a happy hour drink in our future.
Like you, Chris, I’m one of the many thousands of educators who chose to close out the full time classroom teaching part of our career during the last few years. I’ve done some consulting with Ed tech startups and am working toward a micro Masters in Instructional Design for online learning. Educators like us have a lot to contribute. Perhaps more than we realize at first. I was really taken aback when I had a going away party that about a dozen younger teachers thanked me for mentoring them. I hadn’t even realized they saw me as a mentor. You never know what ways, even just by example, you benefit other educators. I know I always follow your work with admiration and interest.
Thank you John. I always loved talking and working with you. I hope our paths cross again.
Chris, experience and the bedrock culture of an investigative teaching style are basics that will always be relevant. Time out of the day to day grind of being in the trenches also gives you time to organize your thoughts and gives you perspective. I’m looking forward to seeing & listening to your new endeavors.
Thank you. Now I feel like I need to do something. I will keep you in the loop.
Great to hear your thoughts, Chris. You are a graceful mentor to “younger’ teacher-leaders; I suggest you keep at that at whatever pace and scope bust suits you. Holler at me if you are ever in the Bay Area
Thank you. I miss seeing you on a, somewhat, regular basis. Hope we can cross paths soon.