To Teach

The Journey of a Teacher

Review

As I read this book I regularly found myself smiling. William Ayers has been an educator for many ages. throughout the book he shares all of the lessons he has learned in his long journey as being a teacher. He starts his book off in chapter 1: The Challenge of Teaching by saying, "To make a life in teaching is largely to find your own way, to follow this or that thread, to work until your fingers ache, your mind feels as if it will unravel, and you eyes give out, and to make mistakes and then rework large pieces. It is sometimes tedious and demanding, confusing and uncertain, and yet it is as often creative and dazzling: Surprising splashes of color can suddenly appear at its center; unexpected patterns can emerge and lend the whole affair a sense of grace and purpose and possibility" (Ayers 1). Just from the very first page, I was in awe. I wanted to read more. William is so real and he knows every single struggle that goes into teaching, yet he still loved every single minute of it. It is so amazing to have been able to read this book written by someone that had the same drive to be an amazing teacher as I do. Reading this book has gotten me even more pumped to get out there and start doing what I know I am going to love. Anyone who reads this book is going to take something out of it.

Unlike most educators, Ayers understands the roles of parents. I have noticed that some teachers think that parents just get in the war. But Ayers recognizes that the parents will know more about the student more than the teacher ever will. Not only is he understanding, but he also refuses to treat students according to classifications and standardized tests, but as human beings. In chapter 2, "Seeing the Student," he argues that teaching requires seeing the student as a whole and unique person. These are only two of the many reasons of why William Ayers was a perfect author for this book. His examples and lessons that he shares gives us, as the readers, something to learn from.

"Why teach, when you could do something more profitable?"

Something that really stuck out to me while reading this book is that there are many reasons to not teach as there are to teach. The book actually states, "There is no other profession that demands so much and receives so little in financial compensation" (Ayers 6). Many people question why teachers do what they do simply because of the money that they make, or should I say, don't make. There is a reason why those certain people are not teachers. Just the other day I was having a conversation with my father about my future and what I wanted to do. I have explained to him several times why I want to be a teacher. His only response was "I just wish you would do something that has more money involved". I learned many things from To Teach: The Journey of a Teacher, but the main lesson was that you have to love it. You have to want to share your life with young people. You have to want to shape and touch their future.Ayers states, "The reward of teaching is knowing that your life makes a difference" (Ayers 24).Why teach when you can do something profitable? Well my answer to that is because there is so much more "profit" when it comes to making a difference in not just one, but many children's' lives.

Application

William has 12 teaching myths that he explains. Each one of these have taught me something in some way. In my EIP classroom that I go to every day, I see my cooperating teacher following with some of these myths. To be completely honest, I don't agree with a lot of the things that my teacher does, but that is not necessarily a bad thing. Im learning from someone else's experiences. There has been lessons from both my EIP classroom and To Teach: The Journey of a Teacher that I will take with me for my future students. For example, Myth 9 was "Good teaching can be measured by how well students do on tests". I see this in the High School as well as in my fifth grade class. After reading this book, I now know that there are many problems that come with standardized testing. Myth 1 was "Good classroom management is an essential first step toward becoming a good teacher". This is completely not true at all. Being able to work in groups and communicate well with classmates is a skill that is needed for the child's future. That is why I will not make my classroom ever be completely silent. Real life isn't silent.
Why Teaching Matters

Questions

After reading this book I still have a couple unanswered questions:

1. Why are there still teachers out there that hate their job, but continue to teach? like William said, you don't make crap, it contains pain and conflict, and its a very stressful job. Why do it if you don't love it?

2. Back to the fact that teachers don't make much money at all... why not? Teachers teach the children that are going to be future doctors, police officers, bankers, etc.

3. Why are their still teachers out there that treat every student the same? When its a fact that we are all different and learn on different levels.