Me as a Teacher
To be a reflective and self-aware individual you need not be a teacher but, to be a good teacher you need to be a self-aware individual. In the first few days of being in a real classroom and understand the teacher’s responsibility made me more and more anxious about my role in the classroom as a teacher. The multilevelled responsibility of the teacher included not just delivering lessons in the classroom. A teacher is like an anchor who connects the child to the world and influences the child.
When I started to go to the classroom with the objective of observing the students, I could not stop my self from putting children in compartments and labelling them. I had to very very consciously tell my self not to do so. When I observed the children with this consciousness I could see that magic and understand the importance of looking at a child without any pre notions or generalisations. I understood that young children believe every thing that a teacher says or does. This observation made me realise the amount of responsibility that I was a teacher hold. Children in the tender age of 5- 6 years believe innocently in the teacher. Therefore a teacher’s words and actions create a huge impact on the learning and development of the child. I felt more and more responsible about my words and actions as I could not preach anything that I did not do my self. eg. If I wanted my children to adhere the norms of the class I had to do it my self first to model it to them.
I realised that it creates confusion in a child’s mind if the actions and words and actions do not correlate and children in this young age are innocent to come and ask for the explanations. Gaining a child’s trust and being trustworthy for the child is the biggest responsibility of a teacher.
Challenges that I faced during my practice included the following
I had difficulty in grabbing children’s attention and engaging them: As a new and a learning teacher it was very very difficult for me to get my children’s attention. I realized that young learners include a lot of learners who need movement. Incorporating few energizers at correct intervals helped me gain their attention.Soon I realized that creating working agreements and giving children the power to agree or disagree on the agreements or norms of the classroom will help me engage them better.
I realized the importance of building that trust and connection with each child. I tried to create norms in agreement with my learners. It was equally important for me to remind the norms and working agreements that were created. Imposition of rules or reprimanding children will only disturb their growth and development. Creating a safe, secure and fair environment in the classroom to make each and every child talk out his feelings was the key to holding them into one close-knit learning group.
Another challenge that I faced was to do with content, I did not know what to do after I had delivered the lesson when the learners wanted to know more and I did not have anything to share. I felt that emptiness within. Knowing more than the content to be delivered, creating a mind map as to what more could be expected helped me. Reading more and more children’s literature. Understanding where a child comes from, looking at the world from the child’s eyes and preparing my self were the key to engage them.One more attribute that I learnt with my little explores was to be my self. A teacher too can say that she does not know. This gave me immense confidence to face my class in spite of the feeling that I may not know everything and it was fine to not know. A teacher is not a supreme dispenser of knowledge.
I have a lot-lot more to learn and understand as a teacher is much much more than just delivering a lesson or helping children to understand the concept.She is that person who can touch the softest or part of a child’s heart and mind to let him evolve as a happy individual of this world.Doing all the above with continued help and guidance from my Mentor Teacher and Teacher Educator. Observing my mentor teachers practices and her doing the magic with children insipid me. She gave me enough assurance and pushed me time an again to dive into the task and face the problems my self. When I faced the class my self, I reinvented the strategies that already existed and now I know why those practices come under the list of best practices of teaching. Taking her feedback as learning lessons and continuously working to improve my skills. From a person who could not write well on the blackboard to a person who can now draw on the black board spontaneously to aid a child’s learning. We shared our strengths and weakness together for a single pointed aim of bringing about learning in a child.