I have always believed that the mark of a great teacher is not only found in the depth of knowledge he/she possesses but also in his/her ability to pass on this wealth of knowledge effectively to others. A teacher is like a farmer, whose responsibility is to cultivate the minds of his/her students with the fertile seeds of knowledge and to reap the benefits of a good harvest. The beginning of this cultivation, however, must begin within the confines of the classroom, a teacher’s sanctuary and a safe haven for healthy and wholesome teaching and learning. Coupled with this fact, a teacher’s style of teaching, and classroom management and organizational skills are the factors that more often than not determine failure or success. Therefore, teachers must have a great understanding and insight into the intricacies of their craft and the versatility and flexibility required to Taylor their style of teaching to meet the learning needs of all students in their classroom.
As you walk through the doors of the 10th grade class of Mr. Jantzen Dwayne Adkins, JD, you are instantly greeted by the pervasive warmth of his hospitality and the delightful pleasantness that emanates from his classroom. As there is hardly ever a dull moment in his class, his students all seem to feed off of his boundless energies and respond to his teaching techniques in a very positive manner. Since I have started observing his class and his masterful display of professionalism, I have come to admire and respect his teaching abilities immensely. By no small margin, I am very impressed with the high level of participatory collaboration and the ongoing interaction between teacher/student and student/student. JD has established a routine with his students. Every morning prior to the commencement of the lesson, his students would take their regular seating assignments (sit in rows), watch channel 1, take notes of key points from various news segments, and respond to a series of questions asked orally. In addition, he would test their knowledge with a today in history question. For example, “On this day in 2000, who set a new record for the most home runs made in a single baseball game?” Once this exercise is completed, he would review the lesson from the previous day, return homework assignments, and correct homework errors. Then, his students would take out their books in anticipation of the new lesson for the day. JD uses lots of group activities such as small and whole group sharing, peer reading, role-play, etc.
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On the other hand, assessment is conducted through student observation, answer and response to questions asked, student feedback and ability to summarize lesson. JD would assign homework just before the end of class. Homework may take the form of writing, research, or textbook reading. Undoubtedly, the notable diversity in his teaching strategies help to facilitate the enhancement of active and meaningful student learning.
Even though his style of teaching leans more towards the interactionist, his students are very cognizant of the fact that he is the ultimate authority in his classroom. He sets his rules and expects them to be kept. As a reminder, a set of rules is posted on the wall for all to see. These rules include, be on time, respect for self, your teacher, and others, you are responsible for all assignments, and the list goes on. Disruptive or unacceptable behavior in the classroom is first met with an oral warning and then a written reprimand. If this disciplinary measure fails, the student is sent to the principal’s office, which usually results in detention hall.
Ultimately, if the student does not show any signs of improvement in behavior, after having gone through the entire process, the parents of the student are required to come in to the school to discuss their child’s behavioral problems with the teacher and other problem solvers. Once this meeting would have occurred, the student is placed on probation. During this period, the student is monitored very closely by parents, teacher, and guidance counselor. All instances of good or bad behavior must be documented for future reference.
As a prospective teacher, I can envisage myself in a very warm, pleasant, and relaxing classroom environment. I can envision the smiles on my students’ faces and hear the excitement in their voices as they happily walk through the doors of my haven of teaching and learning. My classroom will be clean and well organized, a reflection of my self. It will be a place where students can have fun, laugh, and learn all at the same time. I will establish routines and set ground rules, expecting them to be kept. I want my students to feel free to express themselves and to feel safe and secure while in my care. I want them to see me as a friend, someone they can confide in, someone they can trust, and someone they can look to for guidance.
With all things considered, my classroom will be a place where students will not only acquire knowledge but also learn lifelong values. Like the interactionist, who I am most likely to become, I can envision myself incorporating many of their teaching styles and techniques into my own. I can see my students and I working together collaboratively to accomplish tasks, working together as a team to strengthen and build each other up. Although I want my students to have the freedom to express themselves, I do realize that it is absolutely imperative for them to understand that I am the figure of authority in my classroom at all times. This means that I must demand respect but also give it in return. This means that even though I want to be a friend to my students, I must always be mindful to maintain a level of authority and control. If these foreseeable goals are achieved, I will have the ideal classroom, my sanctuary, the place where the cultivation of the seeds of knowledge and learning begin.
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