Ever since my oldest sister, Karis, blogged her trip to Ireland to study abroad, I've always wanted to blog. That was a little over five years ago. And last week an opportunity with my Education 201 course, Foundations of Education, I'm finally starting a blog. It's about time.
The other day in class we discussed Grant and Gillette's ten actions "to put yourself on the path to becoming an excellent teacher, one who is an activist and an advocate for students and colleagues now and in the future." One that really caught my attention was number six, "develop a way to 'recharge your battery.'" My parents are both teachers, so I understood at a very young age that teachers work long hours and get stressed out very easily. My mom, an elementary school teacher, ESL teacher, and a special education assistant is the best example of this. After a long week at school she would get lost in our backyard with a shovel and a basket of seeds. She loves her garden and spends endless hours there, relaxing, singing, planning, and enjoying the sunshine. This is, and probably will always be, her way of "recharging her battery." I've found it important in my life too, especially in college. Lucky for me, I had many art projects to get lost in and feel myself again. I can see how important this is to a teacher who spends several hours a day focusing on a classroom full of children, and spends the entire week communicating with others about them. "Recharging your battery" can help a teacher keep their sanity.
Another action that intrigued me was number one, "get experience with all types of learners and their families." I went to an elementary school that was based of the Multiple Intelligences. We had specific days and activities devoted to each intelligence. Also, the classrooms were arranged that it was first and second graders together in a classroom, and then third, forth, and fifth graders were together. Because of Lincoln Elementary School, I was able to experience different learners and different ages all in one classroom. We learned at a young age that everyone had different strengths and that was perfectly okay. It was normal that one of my classmates wasn't as skilled in one area than another student, and we learned that it's just because everyone is different. I find it very important that students understand that everyone is different or else it has a really strong impact on confidence in the classroom. As a teacher I think it's important to have this experience because it offers a certain understanding of students that they learn differently and at different speeds. Also, having experience with families is beneficial because it helps develop respect to family dynamics and issues families may face.
Next week I start observing a teacher at a local elementary school. I'm incredibly excited and blessed with this opportunity. As an Art Education major I'm lucky enough to observe an art classroom. We do this in Foundation of Education to gain experience. While reading through the list there were many actions I've never experienced to help me become a great teacher. One of these actions is, "become aware that you are a role model and act accordingly." In high school I was involved in a program called Link Crew. We helped welcome freshman to high school, met with them weekly, and helped them adjust. I have experience being a role model for others, but I think it's much different than being a role model for children much younger than myself. It was different in Link Crew because the students were close to my age, still in my generation. But as a teacher there is a much larger gap, and I'm excited to gain experience in learning how to act as a role model for them too. This is very important for teachers in today's society because it helps them set positive examples for the students which is comes that many kids lack.
Another action I need experience with is to "study effective teachers." I've never had an opportunity to do so until this class. I can see why this action is so important. I've been able to observe teachers that have taught me and I understand what sort of techniques helped myself and others learn as well as the techniques that didn't help. Knowing these things really helps develop an effective teaching method. In the classroom next week I'll be able to focus my attention on the teacher and the techniques she uses to communicate to her students. I couldn't be more excited and nervous at the same time!