I am for sure aging myself here, but for those of you who may not be familiar with this figure of speech it is used to describe a person who is good at many skills but a master of none. That is the best way to describe who I am as a teacher and how I have evolved over my career of learning to be a better teacher.
Far too often we think that in order to use a strategy or tool in our classroom we have to be an expert at it. We don’t! As a teacher I have to be familiar with the content, the methodology and/or the necessary steps but I do not have to be a master of it. I am going to talk specifically to my personal Achilles tendon of teaching, the ARTS. I am in no way a musician, yet I can share my passion for music, lyrics and the powerful messages found in music. I can learn and teach to the curriculum expectations of my grade. I can partake in professional development opportunities to expand my skill set and knowledge. Even after all that, I will still not be an expert as compared to a music specialist.
My greatest accomplishment in the arts has been my work on understanding drama as a teaching tool, learning dramatic content and implementing it into my program. I have never been on stage (other than as an elementary student at Christmas time). I have never been a part of any formal dramatic theme, other than helping clean up after a school event and yet drama is one of the most successful components of my program these days. Each year my team and I take a group of highly volatile behaviour students and put on a formal dramatic presentation that we travel with to various schools within my board to share. We are currently in mid production of this year’s play.
Like in almost anything I was not comfortable with as a teacher, the students’ skill set, passion and innate ability to learn took over and I was just left to facilitate their growth. The second message is that when you share your expertise with your colleagues (collaborative planning) the saying that no one person knows more than all of us holds true. I am writing this for all teachers to understand that is it okay to take risks, it is okay to make mistakes in your classroom and learn from those mistakes and it is certainly okay to be a jack of all trades and master of none.