Thanks to Blake (who coined the term), by Christmas break I was “Dr. Teacher”. It took me most of the year to understand why, for all my students, that name stuck.
“Dr. Teacher” was a simple term of respect for me as their teacher, but it was also a way of making me theirs. No other students before or after will call me that. While that makes me sad, it also makes me part of my students’ lives always. Dr. Teacher for them will be with them through their memories and experiences.
Being “Dr. Teacher” is the essence of Being Teacher. Being Teacher is many things though: an archetype, an action verb, and a way of being in the world.
The archetype of teacher represents one who conveys knowledge and wisdom. But in the United States, teachers aren’t always highly esteemed. Other countries revere teachers as purveyors of wisdom and caretakers of their sacred beings. In China, teachers are respected as much as doctors. Could there be a correlation between China being ranked first in the world in education and their view of teachers?
As an action verb, Being Teacher means loving whole-heartedly, working courageously, and striving diligently for our children. We teachers live fully in the world of children, putting all of us into who they are, and who they are becoming. So few other adults are so extraordinary.
But what about us teachers when we are away from that world? One of my colleagues sent out a request recently for prayers after the loss of a relative. The response was an immediate volley of texts sending condolences and prayers her way. That’s a small example of Being Teacher in the world. The same love energy we have for children spills over into all areas of our lives, enriching everyone we know.
I know hundreds of teachers. And I know plenty of artists, musicians, writers, and photographers. And all the artists, musicians, writers, and photographers I know are also teachers. We can’t help but to continue to create as we inspire in the classroom throughout the year.
I count myself honored and proud to be one of hundreds in our Being Teacher community. There is no higher profession. My students know so. I will live forever, regardless of season or year, as “Dr. Teacher” in my students’ memories and souls. So will you, teacher. Of that, we should be proud.