I classify myself as an intuitive teacher. This is a label I use to describe anyone who is natural, innovative, imaginative, empathetic, open-minded, has a willingness to have fun and be silly, and is eminently comfortable creating a learning opportunity in any environment. An intuitive teacher often has a kernel of a plan, but usually doesn't carry around a full blown lesson plan, because they understand it is the individuals and their unique ideas within any given experience that will ultimately form the lesson.
Intuitive facilitators sometimes don't even think of describing themselves as teachers, and they are often not trained; it is simply who they are. They can be found in any occupation and in all walks of life. They are the people that others are instinctively drawn to when they are in need of instruction or inspiration.
These are the folks who can be found sitting next to a young person in the woods listening to a story about the fairy house being built from twigs, stones, and cool moss. The ones standing among a group of kids facilitating a discussion about starting a business or their favorite animals. The person who transcribes the story that eleven children, in turn, are creating and dictating. The ones who are facilitating the brainstorming session and offering encouragement. Or, the individual who has a large supply of recycled materials, craft supplies, and a specific creative challenge. We are the people who can take any idea or suggestion and spontaneously turn it into an activity or “lesson.”
I am so very grateful that my job description does include the word teacher because I get to spend my days listening, engaging, and challenging students. I get to follow the paths initiated from a kid's concepts and proposals. I encourage young people to think about education as an exploration of life instead of individual subjects to be checked off on a curriculum sheet. I also help families translate all of the awesome learning a student has done at home, in the community, and at DRC into Educational-ese a term I have borrowed from an on-line homeschool article. This is the language that manipulates words and phrases to indicate the presence of “real” education and learning; it is used and understood in the world of formal, socially accepted education and the one authorities expect o see when they read such things as Individualized Home Instruction Plans (IHIPs) and Quarterly Assessment Reports.
I am also grateful, however, that I am not a trained teacher; my degrees in Fashion Design/Fashion Merchandising and Anthropology have offered a breadth and depth of knowledge, as well as a love of learning, that I probably would not have discovered if I had majored in Education. I was able to delve deeply into the subjects that interested me and that led me to understand that people learn more and are happier when their education is self-directed and completely individualized.
My passion for exploring new ideas and sharing them with others is entirely encompassed within this gratitude. This is the reason I get up every day, the reason I write, and the reason DRC exists. It simply and unabashedly makes me happy.