Last weekend, I drove to Uxbridge to join the rest of the TMA (Teachers Mentoring Abroad) team as we planned for our excursion to the Dominican Republic in July. This organization is celebrating its 10 year of supporting educator professional development in the Dominican Republic and I’m thrilled to be sharing strategies to support reading comprehension as my contribution to this year’s conference. One of the newest members is Anita Watkins, who joins us as the team photographer. She captured a great team photo as well as a few shots of us working through our plans. During lunch, Anita shared her passion for photography and the journey that she has been on as she has started to develop her business. As someone who is learning how to use my new camera to take effective pictures, I was listening intently for pointers about how to improve my new found photography skills.
Anita is also an educator and I was impressed with her comparisons between photography and education. She coined a phrase that is so powerful. She shared that photography is like teaching, in that in both cases the photographer and educator are always trying to bring the best out in the subject/student.
Anita’s specialty is head shots and her work is impressive. Your eye is drawn to the eyes and the smile of each subject. Most of us are so self-conscious of what the camera captures. We see flaws and imperfections, which are augmented in our eyes. But the right photographer, who knows the rules of lighting, the best angles and the positioning of the subject captures a masterpiece. Anita provided us with direction as to when to smile, when to look at the camera and how to “turtle” to diminish signs of “maturity”.
It is in the same vein that the right educator, who knows his/her student, who knows what engages them and how to provide feedback for improvement will undoubted bring out the best in the student. If we look at student improvement through the proper lens and ensure that we are focusing on what is important, we will capture the best in our students.
Just as a photographer is needed to capture precious moments, a masterful teacher is needed to capture memorable learning experiences. When was the last time you, as an educator, felt like an artist?
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