Let's do a quick comparison:
Here's Education Secretary Arne Duncan -
And here's, well, here you go -
Take a look at these two men and have a moment of pause. Ask yourself:
1. Who would I like to spend an afternoon with at the beach?
2. From which would I ask love advice?
3. Who is more likely to have been to an Aerosmith concert?
If you're me, the answers flowed off the tongue - Arne Duncan of course!
I hope you sense my slight sarcasm and perhaps, in a roundabout and somewhat incomprehensible logic, my point. Why can't a teacher be cool? At what point were we expected to hike up our pants and lock our butt muscles in angst? What I speak of is an infection in our totally cool country - the teacher martyr. These are the teachers who wear that "should" on their faces and intrude on every scrap of fun you might be having. Do they actually poop on your party? No, and that's the most frustrating part. The teacher martyr stresses you out as soon as you feel free. The teacher martyr was put in you while you were asleep in class many years ago.
Have you ever been having a wild time with your students when all of a sudden you lock up and bring on the kabash?
That's your inner teacher martyr. He believes that no good comes without pain and that pain is good.
Good news for you though cool teacher - that teacher martyr isn't real. He is the result of our addiction to control and fear of rejection. So, have a parting drink with your old pal the teacher martyr, bid him goodbye, "I'll sure miss you old chap." and cruise your way to the future.
But how do I become a cool teacher? Who will train me?
Young paduan, the force is in you, although it couldn't hurt to watch a couple episodes of Happy Days with Arne Duncan on mute.
The next time you feel that ache in your head, that unnatural loss of breath - breath, relax, and remember - everything is well, you are a cool teacher.