Education should be about students. I know this seems like an obvious statement, but having worked for years in education I have seen too many cases where education is about the teacher, a particular subject (math, history, English, etc.), or about politics (implicitly or explicitly). I also don't blame teachers (I have participated as well) for this situation; it is deeply embedded in systems and traditions of schools everywhere. So when I say that education is about students I mean that we should be focused on the needs, desires, and experiences that our students bring with them to the classroom and how our particular subject can connect with our students in meaningful and interesting ways and how our students can connect their needs, desires, and experiences to our subject.
I am idealistic, but not naive. I understand the challenges of meeting standards, high-stakes testing, large class size, limited funding, and students who feel that schools have given up on them. I have taught in these settings and support teachers who continue to do so. But I believe that students are the most important and most powerful aspect of education and I can work with standards and testing and everything else when I keep that ideal in mind.
Setting up educational relationships with and between my students is a key aspect in maintaining this ideal in my classes.
Ph.D. Mathematics Educator and Teacher Educator