“You teach who you are” according to Parker Palmer in “The Heart of a Teacher”. This means that educators bring their own values and beliefs into their classroom teaching, which makes them all unique. With this being said, reflecting the teacher’s identity and also the identities of their students in the classroom will become key in a teacher’s life.
I am drawn to the profession of teaching because I want to do something that matters in this world and, in my case, educating children does matter. Individual educators and groups of educators have the ability to reach a group of people and somehow make a change in their lives. As a teacher, I will have the ability to give children options to become a more generous, healthy and self-aware generation. For example, I want to implement activities to encourage a positive self-image. I am also strongly interested in incorporating Environmental Education and First Nations Ways of Knowing into my classroom.
Children are innately curious about their environments, whether that be about the materials, people, places, equipment, etc. Along with this, I believe that children are naturally eager to learn. Children are inordinately and efficiently capable of implementing any task they put their minds to when appointed proper ways of handling tools. Underestimating a child’s abilities will hinder the possible flourishing of their learning and explorations. Children have an immense amount of talent and abilities and they really become the true teachers to us. All children are worth defending and are worth caring for.
To encompass the qualities of a child and to create a safe environment:
- A positive attitude should be brought into the classroom to set up a healthy classroom environment. If a teacher comes into the classroom with a smile, the students will most likely model that behaviour.
- Teachers should be eager and willing to learn new techniques, tips and theories to improve their teaching and overall knowledge. I think it is important to realize that we never stop learning; we only continue to learn and expand on what we already know.
- Sensitivity to personal lives should be an important aspect to teaching. This can mean anything from avoiding creating stereotypes, to making sure students are doing well in difficult times.
- Lessons should be adapted for the students’ needs and learning styles so that we can include and engage every student in regular classrooms.
- Recognizing differences from each other and the community in a sensitive way is essential. This includes skin colour, gender, abilities, etc. If we make conversations about diversity, our students will become a more tolerant and accepting generation.
- Teachers should keep order in the classroom in the most positive way. Negative, forceful commands may be overwhelming for a child and a more calm and collective response could deliver more positive results.
- Teachers should make lessons fun and engaging for their students. Adapting lessons geared towards the students’ interests will result in eager learners.
- Teachers need to make positive relationships with colleagues in order to build a support system and to make the workplace a positive environment.
- A relationship with parents or guardians needs to be formed, also. This will let a teacher know how much feedback each parent requires and if their children have needs that need to be attended to.
- Students should be aware of their rights as a child through the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child
- Students should be given the opportunity to assess their own learning and be involved in their assessment through student led conferences, conversations about assignments, etc.