During National Teacher Appreciation Week, May 4-8, 2015, the Center for Teaching Quality invites all teachers to share their #TeachingIs story in an effort to change the national narrative about teachers, education, and schools. A number of powerful and wonderful stories have emerged from this challenge. I was particularly inspired by my friend Liz Prather’s “#TeachingIs Messy (And I Like It That Way)” (which was in turn inspired by another great piece by Bill Ferriter: “#TeachingIs According to Twelve-Year Olds”). I was further inspired by Danielle Brown who wrote that teaching is about choices andSandy Merz who blogged that teaching is 50 shades of grey.
I agree with all three blog posts as well as the many #TeachingIs quotes shared on Twitter and other social media, but the more I thought about the one word or phrase that summed up teaching for me and I came up with “feeding.” I waffled a bit between feeding and nurturing because I am a total word nerd and nuances of meaning matter to me. I do see so much of what I do as nurturing, but the more I thought about it the more I felt that word was too soft, too gentle, too easy a word to apply to teaching. Teaching is hard. Not always. Not every moment of the day. But teaching is hard because it is messy, because it demands hard choices, and because there are so many shades to the work (there are shades within the shades). But feeding – now that is a word that can encompass the mess, the choices, the shades.