Someone recently gave me a copy of Simple Truths for Teachers, one of those pithy ispirational books. I'll have to admit I always enjoy pithy proverbs, whether for the soul or the work place.
One of the maxims reads, "You cannot put a price on a proficient teaching. It is invaluable."
I find such statements heartwarmingly naive. The kind of naivety you hope every one of your students holds on to in the face of MTV and No Child Left Behind. It is true, though, that proficient teaching is difficult to come by some of the time, and not attainable all of the time. Yet we as educators are faced with the challenge of mounting pressure from our government, both state and national, to be absolutely proficient.
As a tangent thought, considering that Senators and Congressmen perform such highly important duties, casting votes that have implications beyond our current generation, shouldn't all elected officials have to be highly proficient. Ted Kennedy is highly proficient at alcohol consumption and general crabbiness. Rick Santorum is highly proficient at putting his foot in his mouth. But are these men and women proficient at their jobs? Are there any tests to take in order to retain their position?
Sorry, one of those days. But with all of this proficiency floating around, I ask you, are you proficient? What makes a proficient educator? It will be nice to hear from actual educators on this subject as opposed to wealthy businessmen and lawyers who used their wealth to get elected to a public office. And though I doubt any of those important elected officials read what this lowly teacher has too say, if you are one, I guess you can chime in!