Before I became a teacher, I had this hypothetical, perfect classroom in my mind. I realized quickly that this is not realistic in the slightest. Teaching and learning is full of messes, mistakes and obstacles, but that’s the beauty of it all. Mistakes are encouraged in my classroom because my students all know that these mistakes are what makes them grow and change. I also make sure my students know that I’m not perfect. I admit when I make mistakes and I share stories about the things I do wrong. Teachers learn alongside students—we are not completely different entities. My beliefs about education have only grown stronger from experience.
Since I’ve taught in the early years, I have a strong emphasis on social and emotional development of children. 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. All children should be seen as capable. 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.