Thursday, April 1, 2010

A Post in Which I Flatter Myself and Add Another Life Goal

This post at "Musings From A Not So Master Teacher" got me doing some introspection.  John Spenser posits that some teachers don't fit the basic teacher stereotype.  He calls these teachers "indie teachers" and lists 5 criteria for identifying these creatures.  I've broken his original 5 criteria into a longer list that include his specific examples and then  indicated whether I fit the criterion or example. 

"Prefers indie, or at least non-mainstream music."  My favorite albums are Warren Zevon's The Wind, Sam Phillips's Martinis and Bikinis, and Johnny Cash's The Man Comes Around.  I think I qualify under this criterion.

"Doesn't blush at a self-published book."  I miss here.  I'm not saying I wouldn't self publish, but I would not like it.

"Tends to vote independent and uses strange labels (I'm a left-leaning libertarian, I'm a green moderate) in the process." I think being a fine and profane gentleman fits.  I've never voted a straight ticket, so I probably meet this one.

"This teacher is skeptical, but not necessarily cynical, toward social institutions like schools, government, corporations."  I think that government should be big enough to keep corporations in check.  Lately, that's pretty big.  Schools have a purpose, but they ain't Jesus.  I think I meet this criterion.

"[T]his type of teacher doesn't "love" public school so much as loves the learning process."  All I can say is "Preach it, Brother."

"Tends to share and sees horizontal collaboration as more valuable than being forced to use an "expert" resource."  I steal good ideas whenever I can from whomever I can. I also tend to look at the idea or tool or philosophy behind the concept rather than the purveyor's title or credentials.  I'm pretty sure that I meet this criterion.

"In other words, this type of teacher likes to share links, share resources, share ideas, share content."  I'm a bit of a hoarder of ideas.  I willing to talk about ideas all day.  I'd say I meet only half of this one..

"You'll see a Creative Commons license on blog posts, for example."  I haven't done this, but I would like to.  Still, I honestly can't give myself credit for meeting this one.

"Develops resources rather than using school-imposed curriculum," I use my own materials exclusively for one of the classes I teach; I play nice and use some of the "official" materials for classes that several of us have to teach.  I think I fit this criterion.

". . . doesn't depend on schools to fix discipline issues, etc."  Defenestration is the most beautiful word I know, especially because many of the young ones in my class believe I may actually defenestrate one of them before I retire. I fit this description pretty well.

"Tends to be open to new ideas, supportive of paradox and contemplative."  According to the Keirsey Bates test I'm an INTP, so I'm pretty sure I meet this criterion.

"At it's worst, this can look like chincy, cheap idealism.  At it's best, it becomes innovation."  I don't know if I'm innovative, so I'll take a half point here because I know that I have an idealistic streak at times.

"It's no wonder that you see so many indie teachers quoting Seth Godin's Linchpin."  I don't have the book, but I'll probably read it now.  I do, however, have a Seth Godin action figure.

If my math is correct, I meet 10 out of the 13.  Given that the list contains some pretty specific examples, that's not to bad.  I'd like to add one more criterion that one must have to be "an indie teacher."  One must realize that teaching is probably a craft.  A few might be be able to make it an art.  No matter how much the politicians claim otherwise, it will never be a science.

Education needs more innovative, skeptical, contemplative, independent individuals.  If I don't meet the criteria for being an indie teacher, I should.  I guess I'll add meeting these criteria to the life goals in the post that precedes this one.  I'll add another smaller goal.  No more introspective posts for at least a week.

1 comment:

caheidelberger said...

I am what I am!

I also meet 10 of the 13 (no on self-publish blush, even though I blog; no on voting indep, although some say "Kucinich Democrat" is a strange label; no on Creative Commons license, though out of laziness rather than principle).

Now enough introspection! I see windmills!