You might notice that I tend to wrestle with our challenges. The question of why we do what we do in TTT matters. And, what I believe about who we are doing it for matters just as much.
Try to imagine one of your former school teachers. What you probably took for granted when you went to school every day was that this teacher knew what he or she was doing. This teacher knew what to teach and how to teach it. Learning was meaningful. Most, if not every teacher that you have had in your past was a trained professional. Can you imagine attending a school where teachers knew what they were expected to teach but had not been trained for the job? The reason we commit to train underserved teachers and school leaders is because this reality is unacceptable, unfair and most importantly, something can be done about it. How can we hope for the next generation to learn how to read, write and think when teachers do not have access to effective training and professional development to do the job well?
Try to imagine one of your classmates as a child. What you probably remember is the one with the shiny new shoes or the goofy smile. What you probably did not notice is the potential for achievement in every one of your classmates. But the teachers most likely did. Can you imagine attending a school where the teachers did not have the skills to develop the potential in you or your classmates? Yes, these are learned skills. The reason we commit to train underserved teachers and school leaders is because school children are the next world leaders. Right now, there is a student going to school who will become a country’s leader and may take up the fight against corruption and injustice. How can we hope for this needed leadership if we don’t pour into every child’s potential right now?
If TTT believes that training underserved teachers is essential and possible, then the question is, are we in this business for the teachers or for the students? Can it be both? We believe that teaching and learning are inter-connected. In education, they don’t exist without each other. Students are learners who can change the world for the good because they were taught by effective teachers who saw the potential in every child in their classroom. TTT exists for the teachers and the students. Both are learners.
May we pray and hope for potential abilities in school children as they grow up to take care of our world and the precious people who live in it.
Beth is the President of Teaching Training Together, an organization based in Burlington, Massachusetts, that provides initial training through professional development seminars to underserved school leaders and teachers.