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I Will Be A Great Educator

Analyze the qualities of a teacher or educator that were discussed in the “Teacher vs Educator (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.” article.  Evaluate yourself and explain the qualities you possess that will make you a great educator.

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Teachers vs Educators: Which Are You?

By 

Starr Sackstein

on May 5, 2016 5:00 AM

How often do we meet

people who leave a

lasting impression?

How many of those

people were

educators who spent

time helping to sculpt

us into the people we

are today?

This past weekend I

had the experience of

a lifetime when I

presented my first

TedxTalk at a 

TedxYouth

event at Burlinton High School in Massachusetts.

All of the speakers were very inspiring, but I’d say that the student speakers stole the show.

Timmy Sullivan, a senior at Burlington High School, closed the event with a compelling talk

about the difference between teachers and educators, which got me thinking (and I’m sure

I’m not the only person who was wondering which 

he’d classify me

as).

First he sought to define what a teacher is using the dictionary. Courtesy of Webster:

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Teachers vs Educators: Which Are You? – Work in Progress – Education Week Teacher

http://blogs.edweek.org/teachers/work_in_progress/2016/05/teachers_vs_educators_which_ar.html?cmp=eml-eb-popweek+05132016[6/30/2016 12:25:02 PM]

A teacher is “one that 

teaches

especially

 :  one whose occupation is to instruct” versus an

educator, who is “one skilled in teaching 

:  

teacher

.” I agree with Timmy that these two

definitions don’t really distinguish between the two well enough.

For me, like Timmy, a teacher is someone who shows up for a teaching job every day. He or

she knows the content and likely teaching like a job. Whereas an educator is one of those

people who goes farther than what is expected. It’s the teacher who makes relationships with

students more important than the content, but because of those relationships, the content

comes alive.

Teaching isn’t just a job to an educator, 

it’s a calling

. It’s passion and commitment and a

desire to amplify the voices and dreams of the many children whose lives touch them as

much as the educator touches theirs.

Timmy spent time going through his schooling career and came up with a short list and tried

to figure out what they had in common. Being much farther away from my formative

education, the fact that some educators still remain inside my consciousness to this day as I

continue to grow in this profession as I try to emulate the impact they made on me supports

their classification as such.

So for this 

Teacher Appreciation Week

, I’d like to give a little shout out to a few educators

who have helped shape me as the person, writer, and educator I hope to become.

Margery Kashman

– MK taught 12th grade honors English. She read my personal

writing and encouraged me to keep at it, as a matter fact, she still does now. Being

in her class made me love reading and we shared many probing conversations at

lunch about 

Grendel. 

When it came time for me to do my observations as I was

becoming a teacher, MK was the teacher I wanted to observe most. She invited

me back with open arms.

Mr. Johannan- 

Calculus teacher who made math an experience. His classes were

fun, challenging and engaging. I enjoyed math that year.

Mr. Williams

– High School music teacher. He knew I was shy and lacked

confidence as a singer, but always offered me opportunities to try. Performing in

his groups taught me discipline and made me feel a part of something that really

mattered. The music bled from him and his excitement for the subject filled the

hallways with song.

Ted Chereskin

– an art teacher who let me follow my whims, no matter how crazy

they were. He allowed me to test my curiosity, even if it meant me casting my

entire body in plaster or using pencil shavings as filler in a collage. No suggestion I

made was out of bounds. I took risks in his class and he supported everyone.

Mr. Scheiner

– my 4th grade teacher who I accidentally called “daddy” once. He

didn’t shame me, he was flattered. It was in his class that I learned to love reading

not fear it. His presence was a commanding one and despite the way he looked,

his demeanor was so gentle and warm. I was going through a hard time in my life

at that time and school became a place I wanted to come to hide away.

Dr. Maxwell

– 11th grade honors English. She challenged us all to consider

literature in a way that made me think. We put novels on trial. Ours was

Deliverance

. I’ll never forget the experience of arguing against censorship despite

the content of a novel.

Dr. Berman – 

9th grade honors English. English came alive as we passed the

conch shell around the room in our discussion of 

Lord of the Flies

or we talked

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Teachers vs Educators: Which Are You? – Work in Progress – Education Week Teacher

http://blogs.edweek.org/teachers/work_in_progress/2016/05/teachers_vs_educators_which_ar.html?cmp=eml-eb-popweek+05132016[6/30/2016 12:25:02 PM]

about phonies in 

Catcher in the Rye.

Each of these educators had a profound impact on my life both at the time and now as I look

back and consider the legacy I want to leave in this profession. After 14 years of teaching, I

can only hope that I touch the lives of my students in the same way that each of these adults

did mine. Their compassion and excitement for learning permeated what they did and that

mattered.

So thank you to the special educators in my life, past and present.

Who are the educators in your life that made a difference and why? Please share

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What if

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11 comments

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Score: 2

William Soderholm

7:02 AM on May 5, 2016

This is very interesting. 

The problem is we keep getting things added to our

list that interefere with all of these positives. 

The bigger problem is

education is promoting these things at an exponential rate all the while

providing lip service along the lines of this article.

1 reply

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Score: 2

John Bennett

9:06 AM on May 5, 2016

Though many true educators still refer to themselves as teachers, in my

mind, the difference is fairly straightforward: Educators facilitate learning,

occasionally teaching when needed; Teachers deliver information following

lesson plans, occasionally educating some students.

Back when dirt was clear (you know – so long ago, it wasn’t even dirty yet…)

when I was in school, most were teachers with a few like Ted Strein who

were educators. Today, more and more are educators but the change can

never be fast enough!!!

3 replies

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Score: 5

DCGMentor

11:22 AM on May 5, 2016

Teachers had this calling long before the term educator was in vogue. Non

of the students I have had a lasting impact on since 1970 have ever called

me their educator.

Report Abuse

Teachers vs Educators: Which Are You? – Work in Progress – Education Week Teacher

http://blogs.edweek.org/teachers/work_in_progress/2016/05/teachers_vs_educators_which_ar.html?cmp=eml-eb-popweek+05132016[6/30/2016 12:25:02 PM]

1 reply

Score: 4

bradley3

11:50 AM on May 5, 2016

As a teacher, I personally dislike the term “educator” and never refer to

myself as such. However, I do full believe that teaching is my calling, not just

a job. My dislike for “educator” stems from the fact that it is used to

describe everyone involved in education, superintendents, curriculum

managers, and the like. Many “educators” do not teach. That is not to say

that people in those positions are not necessary to the work that teachers

do, but they do not fit the author’s or Timmy’s definition of “educator”.

1 reply

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Score: 4

leibniz

3:36 PM on May 5, 2016

This “line in the sand” description is ridiculous. 

My next door neighbor insists

that she be addressed as an “educator” and will correct any other title. 

To

imply that some are “educators” and others merely “teachers” would be like

distinguishing between “preachers” and “ministers” because you like the

style that one of them employs and denigrate the other. 

Additionally, any

teacher also knows that the students perception of the class (and teacher)

relies not just on the teacher (educator, instructor, professor, whatever you

insist on being called) but also on the content of the class or perhaps more

so on the other students in the class. 

While we’re at it, let’s decide what

other monikers we need to distinguish between. 

Which is better, doctor or

physician? Preacher or minister? Manager or supervisor? 

Cooperating

teacher or instructional coach? 

Let’s not get too full of ourselves here. 

At

the end of the day, do I love my job? 

Sure. 

But I also hope that everyone has

the feeling that they make a difference in their job, regardless of the

profession. 

To think otherwise could only imply that I’m unappreciative of

their service.

Report Abuse

Score: 4

Nancy Flanagan

6:24 PM on May 5, 2016

I once gave a keynote address on the joys of teaching. Immediately

following, a woman in a business suit and heels approached me and said

“Don’t ever call ME a teacher! I’m an…educator.” I was taken aback–but it

was an opportunity to give the terms some thought.

I think “teacher” is a perfect word–a noun made from an equally perfect

although simple verb: teach. 

Parents teach their children. Children teach

each other. 

The opposite of teach is lean, a seesaw of meaning. The

opposite of education is…well maybe what Donald Trump meant when he

referred to the “poorly educated.” 

When people believe they’re not teachers any more—they’re educators–

my “rhetorical excess” radar goes on. I will always be a teacher.

Report Abuse

Score: 4

Yukio

1:07 PM on May 7, 2016

Teacher or educator? 

Who gives a rip? 

If respect is missing from the

equation it doesn’t matter what they call us. 

How about “Administrator or

Classroom Failure?” 

Now that would be a topic for discussion.

1 reply

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Teachers vs Educators: Which Are You? – Work in Progress – Education Week Teacher

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Score: 4

AEPriester

3:02 PM on May 8, 2016

I can see the distinction you are trying to make, but I have always held the

title “teacher” as sacred. 

Even as a college professor, I thought of myself

first as a “teacher,” and I prefer the old-fashioned Anglo-Saxon word to

“educator” any day. Being a teacher is my calling, and I do more than show

up everyday for a job. 

Society at large may belittle the job and title of

teacher, but that doesn’t mean we have to accept their assessment of

teachers and give ourselves a new name.

Report Abuse

Score: 3

bloolight

11:10 AM on May 9, 2016

So I suppose a good teacher is a teacher but a great teacher is an educator?

Or is a mediocre educator a teacher? If I teach students I’m a teacher, but if

I get students to teach themselves I’m an educator? 

What if I try to get

students to educate themselves and they fail to do so? 

Am I still an

educator, or am I a teacher? 

I get that you are trying to say something profound here, but I think that

you are missing the point. 

The general public already believes that teaching

is a calling rather than a job, which is why they find it so hard to accept that

we deserve salaries and benefits. 

Missionaries don’t complain about their

lack of good dental coverage, do they?

I see myself as a cognition-expert, standing at the boundary between

working memory and long-term memory to facilitate the transfer of

information. 

In other words, I’m a teacher.

Report Abuse

Score: 2

aradeba1

12:28 PM on May 12, 2016

On behalf of the teachers you’ve honored in this blog, “Thank you, my dear!”

What a lovely thing to do for those who made such a difference in your life.

As for teacher vs educator, I don’t care what the official term is as long as

I’m working with my wonderful 10th grade English students and we’re all

learning together. 

Bravo!

1 reply

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Score: 0

dflier

9:16 AM on May 13, 2016

I have a problem with referring to teaching as a calling. 

Being a teacher is

not the same as being a priest or a nun. 

Claiming that teaching is a calling

has too often been used as an excuse to pay teachers next to nothing. 

I love

my job, but I won’t do it for free. 

Calling? 

No. Profession? I’d like to think so.

1 reply

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Teachers vs Educators: Which Are You? – Work in Progress – Education Week Teacher

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