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When is a Teacher not a Teacher

December 9, 2015

I no longer teach everyday – what am I?

That is the riddle I’ve been thinking about for a while. I am no longer in a classroom full time. Can I call myself a teacher? I still teach. Actually, I spend a lot of time in classrooms working with students from grade 1 through 12. But, do I get to still call myself a teacher?

A while ago, someone online told me that I was no longer a teacher in the true sense of the word. That got me thinking about what the true sense of the word teacher is. If you want to conduct an interesting social experiment, ask people to define “teacher.”

In Alberta, there is a legal definition of a teacher – a person who holds a valid teaching certificate. In order to obtain this certificate, you must hold a teaching degree and meet the requirements of the Teaching Quality Standard. I have such a certificate. However, if you asked me where it is in my house, I couldn’t tell you. But, trust me, I have one. So, step one taken care of. But am I a teacher.

When I asked people to tell me how they define the word “teacher,” many said: someone who works with kids. That’s a pretty broad definition but, that still describes me. I work with kids a lot. Another definition included: “works in a school.” Again, fairly general but I do work in a school. Actually, I work in 13 schools which is great. A further definition: “teaches kids stuff.” Not the most articulate, but I get it. Teachers are responsible for promoting learning in their classroom. Again, I meet this criteria. I teach students how to utilize digital resources so as to promote their learning and, hopefully, make their lives a bit easier. But am I a teacher?



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