Is there a difference between an educator and a teacher?
I have long debated these terms and tried to determine if there is a real difference between them.
I do call myself an educator on my LinkedIn profile possibly because it sounds more dynamic and aliterate, but I seriously wondered about the difference for a long time.
I probably always will… even a little bit no matter where I go in life.
A quick search through the blogosphere and Google provides a wide range of opinions.
Some say there is no difference and others attempt to make distinctions.
I used to think that an educator was liken to a mentor or trusted advisor and that a teacher was the job description and a title.
The educator challenges students and others around them while the teacher is merely what you are called: a music teacher or a math teacher, or a way to specifying what sort of educator you are.
That was what I used to think.
I’ve also seen opinions that say teacher is the more respectable term and that educator is for those that are attempting to make money off of the education system and want to change policy without actually being in a classroom.
Now, I don’t know what to think.
I am now starting to wonder if too much emphasis is put on such terms altogether.
I would rather hear students say they learned something from me and that it stuck with them. I want to know that they remember something I taught them in a positive light many moons after they leave my teaching. I want to know that they are more informed individuals because of their interaction with me.
I would rather challenge my students to think and engage than be too concerned with what I am called.
So I don’t know the answer to my question: is there a difference between an educator and a teacher?
However, if you notice: the terms I used were “challenge,” “think,” and “engage.”
I would also like to add “inspire,” “expanding perspectives,” and “positive impact.”
These are verbs. These are actions that move and grow. Educator and teacher are nouns. They can certainly become dynamic terms but typically when these other words are used in combination.
Even if they are not used in combination, I think that is what we mean and what we are talking about when we start to debate the difference between teacher and educator. We imply the dynamic terms when we debate the difference or argue that they are the same.
They explain why a teacher or educator is worth their weight in gold or platinum or whatever precious substance you want to liken them to. I am partial to silver or emeralds or gratitude myself. 🙂
Perhaps that is the importance here.
To all the wonderful educators and stellar teachers who may read this: keep fighting the good fight.
We know we are important no matter what we call ourselves and even if the budget cuts say otherwise.
Funny how society as a whole doesn’t really use the dynamic terms I mentioned to describe tests, especially the standardized kind.
Yes, I went there. It was an elephant in the room anyway.
Finally, here are some of my favorite education quotes. I think I am trying to inspire myself as much as anyone else.