YOU ARE AN EXPERT, TOO!
In 2021, we released our book, The Expert Effect with the basic premise of sharing our three-part system with the world. The Expert Effect system consists of:
1) Students learn from outside experts
2) Students become experts through Project Based Learning
3) Students teach the world like experts
There's one part we had to make sure we included and that is a message that teachers are the most important expert in any classroom! This is a message we think is even more timely now more than ever as we navigate this school year.
Below is the message to teachers from Chapter 3 of our book:
Congratulations! If no one has told you this yet today, we’re here to tell you that you (yes, you) are an expert!
Since we started the journey of writing our book, The Expert Effect, and traveling around presenting on our system, we’ve been asked many questions and even received some pushback about the word “expert” and its meaning. While writing the book, we saw multiple questions posed on Twitter asking the question, is it even possible to become an expert in education since there is always more to learn?
Let’s be real here. It’s impossible to be an expert on every single aspect of teaching (and if there’s anyone claiming that they are an expert on everything, run, hide...be very wary of them!). As teachers, we wear a million and one different hats and serve in as many different roles. You almost certainly are good at most of them, outstanding in some, and have room to grow in others. We feel this especially as elementary teachers, since we teach every academic subject area for our students. Expertise is a continuum. That’s the beauty of teaching; there’s always someone who will know more than you and that you can learn from, but we also all have our own areas of expertise from which we can teach others.
It’s time that we recognize teachers as experts. Think about all the training sessions, multiple degrees, copious amounts of professional development, countless hours spent reading professionally, and voluntary Twitter discussions that teachers take part in while “off the clock.” This profession receives too much negativity in the media and it’s time that we own the fact that we are experts in our own right, making an incalculable positive impact on the greater society.
In reading many articles with snazzy titles like “There Are No Experts,” or “There’s No Such Thing as an Expert,” it seems the negativity surrounding the word “expert” stems from people self-proclaiming their expertise to get you to buy their product for “three easy payments of $19.99” like a snake-oil salesman. By nature, teachers are some of the most humble people on the planet and often feel uncomfortable selling themselves in this way. But, we’re not selling snake oil, we’re preparing the youth of today for the future. If we want more respect for this profession, we must be proud and share the awesome things we are doing. Say it with us, say it loud, and say it proud: We are teachers, and we are experts!
You are the expert in your classroom. You are the expert of your students. You are the expert of your curriculum. There’s no consultant, author, or speaker who is better at gauging your learners and what they need than YOU. Being an expert doesn’t mean you’ve reached the finish line of your career or arrived at a place where you’re finished learning. Experts make mistakes too, but what sets them apart from the rest is the willingness and ability to change based on self-reflection. What makes someone a true “expert” in our eyes is their relentless pursuit to improve. If you’re reading this blog right now, we know you are in the pursuit of greatness for the sake of your students. When you learn, grow, and improve your practice, your students are the direct beneficiaries of your growth.
This blog post is a modified excerpt from our book, The Expert Effect, Chapter 3. If this message resonated with you, you can pick up a copy of our book on Amazon!