We are firm believers that classroom teachers are professionals. Every teacher has graduated from a four-year college or university. Every teacher has survived the apprenticeship of “pre-service training”: classes in pedagogy, classroom management, technology, etc. Each teacher has earned a license to teach from the state. Any teacher still in the classroom after three years has also moved beyond the “provisional “ designation, to achieve a “professional” status from the school, the district, and the state. It seems obvious that individuals emerging from four-year academic programs and “battle-tested” for three years on the job should be considered professionals. Why should anyone dictate the best choices for you to make regarding your students? You know your students better than anyone. You are the professional in the room; the person with the knowledge and experience to make the best choices for your students’ instruction. You are the “Pro-in-the-Know.”
The “professional” designation comes with some very important responsibilities. “Pros-in-the-Know” evaluate the learning styles and capabilities of students and adapt their instruction to those conditions. Some days, with some information, experiential learning is the best pedagogy. Other days, with other information, lecturing is best. You, the “Pro,” should make that decision. But, and here is the rub, you have to be “professional” in making the decision. Does that mean that “videos and publisher-provided worksheets” are acceptable? No, it does not. That is a cop-out. In thirty years of teaching I have yet to find a publisher-prepared worksheet that engages students in learning. Students are smart. They know that the “worksheets and videos” approach means that we are not prepared; that we are not being professional. If we are professional in our choices, students’ needs and abilities dictate our decisions.
So, which should it be, the “Sage-on-the-Stage” or the “Guide-on-the-Side”? As we said before, we don’t believe in providing the answers. Maybe you should ask your “Pro-in-the-Know.”