While in the Coast Guard as a deck watch officer onboard cutters doing patrols in the Bering Sea in Alaska ( like the Coast Guard Alaska series recently seen on TV), I worked closely with pilots who flew the search and rescue missions flying off of the deck of the Coast Guard Cutter Midgett.
I learned from the pilots that when they are asked the question "Who is the best pilot?" they must answer immediately, and with conviction, "I am!". The reason for this response is straight forward - when piloting a plane with passengers onboard, the pilot is the sole person responsible for everyone's safety. When an emergency happens, the highly trained pilot must have the confidence and skills to respond to the situation. They must believe in themselves and their ability to do what is needed to ensure the safety of the plane and the passengers.
When I am leading professional development for groups of teachers and I ask "Who is the best teacher?" and suggest the only acceptable answer is "I am!" I need to clarify that answer.
The key to teachers understanding what I am trying to say is that every teacher is the best teacher for their students. That attitude towards teaching assumes that classroom teachers know their students the best and which instructional strategies work best to help the students learn.
I want the teachers I work with to believe in themselves, to know their subject matter, to know their students, and to understand that they are the best teacher for those kids!
As an operations officer in the Coast Guard I have participated on several search and rescue missions where we actually pulled people off of sinking boats and literally saved lives. As teachers, we are also saving lives each day, perhaps not in the dramatic fashion of an at-sea rescue, but we are saving lives nonetheless.
Whan planning lessons for your students ask yourself "Who is the best teacher?"
I hope your answer is "I am!".
Wayne Fisher is currently the Elementary Science Specialist for CMS, a position he has held since leaving the classroom in July 2007. This is Wayne’s 17th year in CMS with the first 10 years devoted to helping students learn physics at Myers Park HS. He has a Masters in Physics, Masters in Curriculum, and he renewed his NBCT in 2011. Two highlights of his career in education are being selected as one of 37 teachers out of 1100 applications nationwide to compete for the NASA Astronaut Class of 2004 and being awarded the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching in 2002. When not supporting STEM initiatives in the Charlotte area and across the state, Wayne enjoys competing in Masters Track and Field in multi-events. His most recent achievement was finishing 4th in his age group at the National Decathlon Championships held in Charlotte in June 2013. You can follow Wayne on Yammer, LinkedIn, or on his page “Wayne’s World of Science” on the Elementary Science Wiki.