Okay, so for my Education 340: Literacy and the Learner we get to do a lab, which for me, entails student/ assistant teaching a 6th grade English class that mostly focuses on reading and Tuesday was my first day and it was absolutely amazing. That hour and 20 minutes I spent with those children surpassed every expectation I had. I was so afraid that I was going to walk into that classroom, hear those children mess around at 7:40 in the morning and that it would take every fiber in my body to not walk out of that classroom. Fortunately, that was not the case at all. I walked in the classroom and I was in awe. The children piled into the room and I knew I was exactly where I was supposed to be. Lately, with the things that have been going on in my life, this was a feeling I accepted with open arms. Also, being referred to as “Miss Arcuri” got me to a level of happiness I did not know existed. I was so sad to leave and I am actually looking forward to waking up at 6 A.M. every Tuesday.
I have been picturing myself teaching and it is all I can think about. In that time I spent with the students and all the time outside of the classroom, all I could think about what type of teacher I want to be. To me, there are two main aspects of being a teacher that determine if you are a “good” teacher or not: how you teach and what you teach. But there is so much more to teaching than just these two aspects.
How you teach is about personality, how to connect with the children. First and foremost, the way you talk to them is very important. If you treat the students like little children who do not know anything, there will be very little respect coming your way. But on the other hand, if you treat them like your buddies and you’re like “Hey bruh, how was your weekend, was it lit? Hell yeah man!” That is also not cool. Obviously, there has to be a fine line where you can still treat them like peers that you respect and can connect with but ultimately you are in charge and you are the teacher. So being able to distinguish that line is very important. This matters because how you connect with the students will directly correlate with how they connect with the material.
I feel like if I can get the students to connect with the material, I am doing a pretty good job at my job. When I was in school, if a teacher ever got me to connect with anything, I started really liking them as a person, as a teacher and I actually looked forward to that class. For example, during my sophomore English class, we had to create a poetry book filled with poetry we had written with illustrations and stuff. It was actually a super cool assignment and I really loved it. It was my first period class so I actually could not wait until I got to school and could work on reading poetry, writing poetry, drawing, and putting everything together. That assignment was practically made for me, it was everything I loved all rolled up into one. That is the type of teacher I want to be. I want to create assignments like that, that fully engage the students and get them to really enjoy the material. I feel like I am a pretty creative person so hopefully making up assignments like that, will not be too hard for me and honestly, I am also pretty good at taking someone’s idea that I find online or something and fixing it up and making it new and applicable for my situation.
In my CO 301D class we watched this Ted Talk that basically said that incorporating the words “not yet” could have an extremely positive outcome in our classrooms. If we told our students “you don’t have it quite yet” instead of just telling them they failed, they will have a different attitude towards their assignments and also get another chance to master the material. In our class discussion, basically everyone agreed that “not yet” has great potential but there has to be deadlines at some point. I brought up the idea that, yes for some assignment students should be able to have multiple chances to try to get the answers right or to understand the material, but what if for those big assignments and projects, we had conferences for progress. In the Ted Talk the speaker spoke about how to compliment our students, and it is not to compliment them on the final product but on their progress. So, for instances when we have particular students that desperately need time with their instructor to understand what the assignment is asking, there should time set aside for them to discuss their progress; what is working and what is not. I think that every educator should develop a personal investment in each and everyone of their students for the pure benefit of the student. The teacher is there to help the student and if just grading a paper saying “good job” or “needs more work”, how is that educating. It is up to the teacher to understand what each student needs in order to learn, whether that be lecture, independent studying, group work, or a couple hours a week after school talking about what was covered in class. Being a teacher does not end at 3 pm when the bell rings, being a teacher never ends. Being a teacher should be like being a doctor; you should always be on call and always be available. That is the type of teacher I want to be, I just want to be everything for my students and I never want to stop growing and learning.