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Saturday, September 24, 2011

TALENT: Teaching And Learning Everyday: a Network for Teachers

TALENT noun /'ta lent/: the natural endowments of a person
I've finally created a blog! I wanted to create one for quite some time, not just for my own musings, but to connect the most talented and amazing people I know: the education family! Whether you are a teacher (preservice, active, retired), literacy coach, administrator, home school educator, parent, or higher ed professional, it doesn't matter! What matters most is that teaching and learning are happening every day in your world. The TALENT Blog is simply a forum for sharing resources, experiences, and developing a sense of community.

I chose TALENT as an acronym after many hours of brainstorming, obsessing, and doodling. Talented people are everywhere, but perhaps the largest group of them can be found in America's classrooms. America's Got Talent, a popular television show designed to showcase ordinary people with extraordinary gifts, spotlights an individual's uniqueness. While I appreciate the flair of entertainers, nothing compares with the talent it takes to manage a classroom, organize learning, create a safe and risk free environment, ensure that all children are learning, maintain positive home-school relationships, and on & on. You get the idea. Teachers are charged with one of the most complex and demanding careers of all! Talent? You can't survive in the field of pedagogy without it. You must be talented at a web of things, and if you aren't, then seeking out some professional development is a critical step. We are not talented at everything, certainly, but we need some natural endowments to begin with, then we need the talent to understand what we do need to improve on, finally we need the talent to reflectively consider our performance. Unlike America's Got Talent, teachers don't have three judges literally watching and lighting up an "X" overhead when a poor performance comes along. We also don't have a "ticket through" to Vegas or some other venue for accolades of praise. We have to be talented enough to reflect on our own performance, glean what worked and what didn't, and make the necessary changes to come back with a better performance a mere 15 hours or so later. In the space of that 15 hours away from the classroom, teachers have to grade papers, plan & prep for lessons, manage households, run their own children back & forth to activities,  and have adult relationships. Whew...even the most talented performer would be exhausted at the pace and rigor of the average teacher's day in the classroom and beyond.

I hope the TALENT Blog serves as a way to spark reflection, stimulate new ideas, and create an online community of learners. As I continue to write, I invite you to follow the TALENT BLOG, add comments, and share your talents with others. After all, if we don't have an entire network show devoted to our extraordinary gifts as teachers, then we might as well blog it out.

Happy Teaching And Learning Everyone!
Janet