I have always wanted to help change the world. As a child, I believed that if everyone did their own little part in taking that extra step to help others, the world would be a much better place for everyone. The stark reality of it all hit me not long after that but it did not lessen my resolve. I figured that if so many people I knew did not want to do their part in changing the world then I would probably have to do their share. It was this realization that also drove me to spend time in an educational setting to attempt to gain a valuable understanding of certain issues.
This brief discourse will attempt to outline what I have learned from the fifteen (15) hours of service that I have spent and also how this experience has enhanced my overall knowledge about education in general. The schools I visited as part of the educational service were the following: Sunshine Kids Preschool Sebastian Florida, Miss Kavita’s Class 0-3, Miss Ellen’s Class VPK, and Sebastian High school 9th grade Global Studies. This decision was motivated by the fact that my idea to become a teacher was strengthened by my visit to the five classrooms.
I have confirmed to myself that I want to contribute to the greater good of society and leave an eternal imprint of compassion and knowledge. I personally feel that my biggest gift of compassion and sensitivity to children has been reaffirmed as being something viable to give in this profession. My biggest fear of not being able to have control over discipline and behavior problems was more or less settled during this educational service.
I have reaffirmed my dedication to assisting children who may feel lost academically and socially I think children need a teacher with compassion for their needs and problems and interest in their achievement. I have realized that my previous work with children in a recreation atmosphere is not the same as a classroom, so again my fear of having an out of control student or classroom with behavior problems was settled.
It may seem difficult for some to see just how teaching can become an ultimate job for myself, let alone anyone for that matter. It is easy to see why certain people have this kind of opinion of this profession. For one, depending on the career path and position, the salary is not very enticing in proportion to the work that is required. It is a thankless job at times and requires a lot of patience. Yet there are certain intangibles that make teaching the ultimate profession for me.
The simple fact that as a teacher I will have the opportunity to get in touch with and shape the mind of today’s youth to allow them to see the wonderful opportunities for them in this world is worth more than any remuneration that the job can provide. The satisfaction from being able to help young children fulfill their dreams and realize their full potential is something that cannot be measured by dollars and cents. One such experience that has enriched my views on education came during my visit with Miss Kavita’s class.
Kavita showed me that she uses specific and simple techniques to control her classroom. While my biggest reservation is discipline problems or not being able to control outbursts, Miss Kavita was certainly challenged numerous times (and I did feel uncomfortable with the child who at fist who was continually acting out and disruptive but he was only 3 yrs old and was the only one with this behavior problem) but she stated that she simply must keep him close to her during circle time because he will not be as disruptive then.
Mostly all of the children were well behaved and consented to move along through the “centers” and activities given to them. I noticed with this age group when there is a pause in direction they will get into trouble. However, it you give them a purpose they will follow through. I noticed praise is so very important to this group. In addition, social structure between him and her is either utopia or devastatingly upsetting if they feel rejected by their peers. I surprisingly may consider teaching other grades other than early childhood, since observing the 9th grade global studies class.
Again, my fear of not having control over discipline problems is paramount to me because I feel that in order to be effective as an educator I need to be able to get the attention of the students. However, I was impressed at the ease of control the teacher had with these teens. She stated that they are no different than the little ones, they are little ones in big bodies” As with the 0-3 class room there seemed to be one boy who was persistent on being disruptive. He seemed to also go along finding more outwardly and rude things to do.
He started off the session with remarking on the fact no one has given him any Christmas gifts to, repeating what president he resembles the most to forcing a shy and intimidated boy to do his assignment (obvious bullying) So this boy is my worst fear. He asked the teacher who I was and why I was staring at him. The teacher told him I was there to take notes on their bad behavior and to report it. This did not faze him and he continued for the rest of the class insulting other students. After the class, the teacher told me that this class was tame and she has other classes’ that are far more difficult to control.
She said that those are the ones she may not even allow conversation for obvious reasons. Like Miss Kavita class this 9th grade teacher offered games and prizes (candy). But did not have them get in line to wash their hands. I made assumptions on student’s life situations or extracurricular or social groups they belong to I noted that it has not changed since I was in high school. The class I observed had the following social tiers; Cheerleaders and Jocks who did the most answering and communicating with the teacher during the lesson. There were Goths or freaks some children call them.
Depending on the degree of the style they are more reserved and partake in the lesson unless called on. One Goth boy was also the victim of bullying by the boy who seemed to be in a neutral group not an athlete and not part of the Goth kids. At one point I tried to see if there may be one child who may be neutral or a part of more than one group and I did notice a girl who was this way at first but then I noticed a ribbon in her hair, then I noticed she and four other girls had the same color ribbon in their hair. It was clearly a cult and the leader was a cheerleader. She won’t the weekly prize for participating in the class lesson.
I was impressed by the teacher’s use of cutting edge technology; she spoke into a microphone with an amplifier. And instead of reading from the text book, the text book was projected onto a large screen. She allowed a large amount of time for working in groups but unlike Miss Kavita class the children were not required to break away from their social groups. And more bothersome the controllers of the social groups control the quality of the work within the work group. There is no greater joy in life than knowing as a teacher that you have done something to change the life of another.
The development of the child is paramount in education. This development, however, is not only with regard to certain matters or fields of study but is more holistic in the sense that it challenges the child to not be content with what was learned but instead yearn for more. In child development, the teacher must always strive to make the child want to learn more. It is this type of preparation that aids in the development of the child. One particular experience is the case of Joseph. He was never the brightest kid in class and neither was he the most loved. In fact, he was considered as the class bully.
He would always pick on the little ones especially during math class. As I learned from his other teachers, Joseph had the same problems as well. He would always be disruptive in class. There was one thing peculiar about his behavior in my class, however, which got my attention. As the other teachers complained that Joseph never handed in his homework, I noticed that he would always give in his homework for math class. It was here that I realized that the problem of Joseph was not so much that he was a bully but that there was nothing in school that interested him, except for math.
After the class had ended one time, I went up to Joseph and asked him if he ever considered being a teacher’s assistant. I told him that I needed his help to answer a few math problems and that it was important to me that he helps out. It was awkward at first since Joseph was unsure of himself. As the days passed, I saw not only a change in his math skills but also a change in his behavior in class. He would no longer pick on the other students. Instead, he took the role of teacher’s assistant seriously and was soon tutoring the other students in the class.
From bully to role model, one can never know what to expect from students. From this experience, I have found that there is no other better way to learn than by teaching. Many people say that you lean best by studying yet I disagree and say that one always learns best when teaching. Education is a two way street. The student learns from the teacher and the teacher learns about the student and more about life. Often times, the problem is that there is a communication barrier that exists between students and teachers. This makes it more difficult to impart anything upon the student because they are not as receptive.
Another aspect that makes it more challenging arises from the fact that the learning curve that the teacher adopts may not necessarily be the one best suited for the student. This is often the case when there is no communication between the student and the teacher as caused by this carrier. For this reason, I believe that a lot of the teaching and learning must be accompanied with a certain level of respect in order to allow free intercourse of ideas that develop the learning. This approach, I believe, makes the teaching environment more productive as it cultivates respect for the teacher and the student.
The role of teachers then becomes important in the context of child development because teachers need to understand what they are supposed to do. Many people have the mistaken impression that as teachers their role is to simply provide the student with information. The problem with this is that it imparts a static education. In order to become more effective as a teacher, one must realize that the role of the teacher is not to teach everything to the child but to equip the child to be able to learn more on his own. Teachers are guides. Teachers are not encyclopedias that just dispense any information at hand.
Teachers should know that their role is to inspire in the child the desire to pursue higher learning. Teaching is a noble profession. In the hands of the teachers are entrusted the future of today’s youth. This important position in society is one that must not be taken lightly and must be revered. Yet in order for this to happen, a teacher must realize the importance of his or her job and the responsibilities that accompany such a privileged and indispensable role in society. To lead the children on that first step to a higher education is one of the greatest accomplishments that a teacher can hope to do.
Courtney from Study Moose
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