My Identity as a Teacher Essay
My Identity as a TeacherHeeding My Inner Voice “I am a teacher at heart, and there are moments in the classroom when I can hardly hold the joy.” (Palmer, 1997) I have always wanted to be a teacher. I don’t exactly know why, but I have always felt that this was my calling, even as a child. Maybe it’s because I love children and I feel that I want to touch their lives while theirs touch mine. Somehow I want to share my knowledge, I want to share of myself to these children.
I want to be an inspiration and contribute to the learning and development of students. Maybe that’s my heart’s true longing. This calling to be a teacher could also be due the inspiration that I got from some of my own teachers. The way they were able to look through me and see my potential. Their efforts in making me learn and help me build my self-esteem. More importantly, they were able to convince me that I should dream big dreams, because I have the ability to achieve them.
Having experienced such enlightenment from these teachers motivated me to do the same for others, sort of a way of paying it forward. So heeding the voice I did. Prior to entering this program, I worked in a daycare for three years. But despite having that experience, I didn’t feel that it was enough to really prepare me to the daunting task ahead. In the first class that I was in, most of the students were categorized as “below average” and required additional support from my cooperating teacher (CT). I noticed that my CT could not always be available and provide her full, undivided attention to help them.
Nevertheless, most of the students did behave and listen well, largely because of her good classroom management skills. I also learned a few techniques from her. To illustrate, she would give them one “look”, wait and stare at the disruptive child and count backwards to 5 with one hand – it worked like magic. She was kind and stern when needed to be, but at the same time was generous with her humor. She said that it is important to use a balance of all these when teaching. In terms of the lesson plan, my CT generally “went with the flow”. She asked the students what they wanted to do with language arts and gave them three options: tongue twisters, writing fractured fairy tales or reading a novel. The students chose the last option, and she said that it could be done using Powerpoint.
The students were glad that the software was employed. Overall, my CT did a great job, but could have been a bit more organized. I also felt some sort of restriction in the use of the Math books, as government regulations dictate that they are to be taught exactly the way they are written. Observing my CT drove home the importance of constantly being creative and innovative, and I hope that by the end of fourth year, I would have learned how to make the subjects fun and engaging for the students. I began to wonder how I would be able to, one day, teach a class with so many different learning levels and styles.A Leap of Faith My teacher pushed me to do my best. I took home journals to correct and did a lot of paperwork that teachers apparently have to do.
I also did my part and prepared well for the time that I’d have to be finally in front of the class. When it did, my nerves got the best of me, and I actually thought of worst case scenarios, that the children would not listen, would be bored, be disruptive. But thankfully, I ended up enjoying the class. I had a wonderful time teaching them about grammar (i.e. adjectives; adverbs; prepositions). I reading a story, I asked them to do a homework that asked them how the story I just read was different from the original one that was read to them. In addition, I got to introduce two debate topics to the class.
(i.e. should the school have uniforms; should women stay home while the men act as the bread winners). We had so much fun doing this.
They were all involved in voicing their opinions. I believe that these activities went well because I did my homework and prepared well for them. For the debates, I took the time to research about the key points that had to be written on the board. Moreover, I think that my enthusiasm and interest were also keys to the success of the said activities. It was not a bed of roses altogether though, as I encountered two to three children who were rude, who found ways to shout out and disrupt the class while I was teaching. Sometimes I had to shush them. Seeing this, my CT gave me pointers and identified effective strategies (i.
e. waiting; staring at the “disruptive”child; etc.). I hope to be able to know how to better handle such situations, and I look forward to learning new and creative strategies to effectively manage the class by my last fieldwork experience.Priceless Rewards There is a special class for autistic children in the school. Twice a week, for 1 1/2 hours, all teachers have to help out the CT assigned for this class. Helping out in this class was extremely inspirational, as I met some really exceptional children with special qualities.
One could remember and write down most of the streets in Montreal, while another was able to fix anything you gave him. On the other hand, one moderately autistic boy needed extra attention to help him get back on track in the tasks he was doing. I was able to read stories and play computer games with the kids. I was honored to have taken part in teaching this class and this experience has definitely given me insights on how to become a better teacher.In Retrsopect Before getting into this program, I imagined myself to have the same level of enthusiasm as the teachers who were responsible for inspiring me to become a teacher in the first place.
I also wanted to be able to express the same kind of sincerity and care for my students. I felt that if I could help even just one student gain his/her self-worth and realize his/her own potential then I would have succeeded as a teacher. Moreover, I wanted to be the kind of mentor that opened the minds and abilities of students, that created innovative ways for to let them reach their full potentials. I also wanted to be the kind of teacher who had the skills to make repetitive material engaging. Lastly, I was the type who took pride in seeing the students successfully solve problems, like in Language Arts and Mathematics for instance. In retrospect, I believe I have already taken the necessary steps in reaching that goal.
I worked with the students individually, in small groups and then as a class, in order to make sure that they were learning the lesson, and also to reinforce the points that needed to be emphasized. I was passionate and always took the initiative. Moreover, I used humor and showed them that I truly cared for them. I also made the effort to walk around the class to become aware of which ones needed more help and attention.
Specifically, I enjoyed repeating materials in different ways to students who needed help with the grammar worksheets. I also helped them learn using fractured fairy tales and holding the moral issue of “Jack and the Beanstalk” up for debate. More importantly, I encouraged the students to become independent and make discoveries for themselves.
Conclusion When my students and I discover unchartered territory to explore, when the pathway out of a thicket opens up before us, when our experience is illumined by the lightning-life of the mind – then teaching is the finest work I know. (Palmer, 1997) When my students and I finally walk hand in hand to that place where our minds finally meet and become one, it is only then that I can claim to be teacher and true to my calling. For the meantime, I shall hone my craft until I reach that point.ReferencePalmer, P.
J. (1997, November-December). The Heart of a Teacher: Identity and Integrity in teaching. Retrieved October 18, 2008, from http://www.newhorizons.org/strategies/character/palmer.htm