Sunday, April 14, 2013

Rock Star Teachers

U2 Image by Wikipedia Brown CC BY 2.5

Okay, short rant here:

I really, really dislike the term "Rock Star Teachers." If you follow anything education-related on Twitter, you're sure to see this term pop up--and probably on a daily basis. And it rubs me the wrong way, every time. I can't even articulate exactly why it ruffles me so much...probably just because it sets some teachers up as the "big show" with all the lights and noise and paparazzi...with others waiting in the wings, the warm-up show, the ones not good enough to get top billing. Or not good enough to even get onstage.

All right, rant over. But I'm still thinking about this.

Maybe I don't like the term because I (selfishly) want people to describe me that way, and I worry that they won't. I want the adoring fans. I want to be Bono or the Edge...but I think I'm probably more like John and John from They Might be Giants...or more likely, the backup rhythm guitarist of a 4-chord cover band.


My Twitterfriend, @DaisyDyerDuerr, shared this post recently, entitled "The World Needs More ROCK STAR Educators!" I confess, I read it fully expecting to come away feeling annoyed. But it was actually a little helpful for me. The analogies she makes here are apt, and get at the different gifts different teachers bring to their respective classroom practices. If you read it, you'll probably have some teachers pop to mind who fit her "Lady Gaga" or "Rolling Stones" or "Mumford & Sons" descriptors.

I still don't know if I love the idea of some teachers as Rock Stars and others...less than stellar. But let's be honest, some teachers are simply better than others. You know it's true; you've had amazing teachers and less-than-amazing teachers, right? I've written before about the realities of average to awful teachers. Can all teachers be great? Maybe not. But should all aspire for moments of greatness? Well, that's something else, isn't it?

In the end, it's not about screaming fans, or lights and noise, or paparazzi camera flashes. Teaching is about striving to do the best I can with what I've got to do the best I can for the students I've got.

(But maybe if I play my ukulele in class...that might improve my Rock Star status?)


  1. I see where you're coming from. Personally, I use rock star as a metaphor for the whole band/class. The kids are rock stars too. We're making music together. I need them as badly as they need me.

    1. I love that, Doug..."I need them as badly as they need me." That's the real truth of it!