“Teaching is more than covering content, learning is more than merely taking in and assessment is more than accurate recall. Meaning must be made and understanding must be earned.”
First, I believe that every single child has the potential to be a great learner. No learning style, disability or achievement level should determine a student’s success. With the proper use of differentiated instruction, effective teaching strategies and an understanding, compassionate attitude, teachers can help all types of learners succeed. Referencing back to the quote mentioned above would be the best way to explain this. Every child learns differently; some hands on, some visually and others by listening, but it is the teachers job to use all of these different methods to help their student learn. A teacher’s job is not to simply read off the chapters of the textbook needed for their students to pass a test, instead they have to use their student’s schema to create lesson plans that are meaningful and that students can relate to. Once a teacher properly does this, it is up to the student to make an effort to take away as much information as they possibly could have from the various lessons taught. As the saying goes, “you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink.” What this means, is that basically, a teacher must provide the students with all of the information necessary for them to develop. Then, it is completely up to the student to use what they have learned and absorb the material, rather than simply remembering it only for a test. A student must discover the meaning and try to understand the concepts taught to them for the lesson to be worthwhile in the end. However, students must constantly be assessed by their teachers to measure progress. Once assessments have been graded, both teachers and students can adjust to the various learning needs of the students.
Secondly, I believe that my responsibility as a teacher is to be a role model for my students. I must be someone that my students can look up to, trust and learn from. I must also always follow my own instructions; otherwise, students will feel that they won’t have to. I am not there to be their friend, but I am there to be a caring and compassionate educator. It is extremely important for me to be someone that my students feel they can talk to about problems or struggles that they may be facing. Building such a trusting relationship, will help the students become more open with me about their interests, goals, and subjects that they may need extra help in. Using practices of theorists will also help guide me in educating my students in the best way possible. For instance, as a teacher I would use Vygotsky’s idea of scaffolding and ZPD to facilitate my student’s abilities to learn new concepts. I also plan to follow Dewey’s beliefs, by creating lessons that allow my students to participate in adult like activities, real life situations and promote independent thinking. Of course, I plan on using handouts to allow my students to practice what they have learned, but I also will definitely be incorporating group work and indirect instruction to encourage appropriate social interactions.
Lastly, I want to create an atmosphere that not only promotes learning, but has a welcoming appeal to it. I want my students to look forward to coming to my class each day, rather than dreading the idea of school and learning. The first step in creating this comfortable learning atmosphere for my students is making sure that they feel safe with me as their teacher. Therefore, on a daily basis, I will show my students that I only have their best interest at heart. I will try to work with them in all types of situations, proving to them that I am a large support in their life. I will also make sure my class is full of youthful and fun activities, while still promoting learning. This will let them know that I am down-to-earth and there for them. The next step would be making my classroom very colorful with decorations and educational posters, so that my students feel at home and at ease. The walls will be filled with student work, pictures, rules and bulletin boards, so that the classroom will not only be pleasant to look at, but it will build the student’s self esteem and they can be proud of their displayed work. Hopefully, my class will feel like a safety zone for my students; a place they can rely on.
By doing all of this, I will be meeting the standards that I believe a teacher needs to meet. I will be giving my students the opportunity to feel comfortable, which definitely helps in increasing their participation of the lessons. I will also be giving every student in my class the opportunity to gain the education they truly deserve. Every student in my class will be taught in a way to meet their diverse needs, so that they can receive individualized instruction and succeed each day!