As an educator, we are given the “gift” and purpose of educating, guiding, and directing young children. We essentially participate in forming habits, beliefs, and a knowledge base which will follow them throughout their life. In no other profession, is there such a responsibility and opportunity to make a difference in the lives of children and the future of our country!
I believe that education is an individual, unique experience for every student who enters a classroom. In order for children to benefit from what schools offer, I think that teachers must fully understand the importance of their job. First, I believe that teachers must consider teaching to be a lifestyle. The most successful educators almost feel it is a “calling” and understand the enormity of the responsibility of a teacher. As professionals entrusted with the education of young minds, teachers must facilitate learning and growth academically, personally, and ethically. By providing a quality education to each individual in one's classroom, a teacher equips children with the tools necessary for success in life.
It is important first to establish a respectful, honest rapport with students, a relationship in which communication and trust is of the highest priority. A climate of mutual respect based on trust and caring can be established in the classroom, making it possible to interact confidently and safely in an academic setting. Once this foundation is established, the educator has already accomplished a major goal. Demonstrating these behaviors in the classroom and expecting students to model them prepares the students for future learning and interactions as they progress through life.
Academic learning must begin with motivation and inspiration. Students deserve an educator's passion for both the subject at hand and learning as a whole. Teaching and learning become a simultaneous journey for both the teacher and students when students' energy is aroused by a teacher's genuine intensity for learning, because everyone is ready and willing to participate in active learning. To achieve active learning, a teacher must demonstrate enthusiasm and express confidence in the students' abilities to learn and be successful. Employing constructivist methods of teaching in one's classroom forces students to take an active role in their education by making choices and assuming responsibility for intelligent inquiry and discovery. For instance, discussions, projects, and experiments ensure student achievement and allow students and the teacher to discover individual student's preferences and strengths. This approach facilitates differentiated activities for each student's distinctive ambitions, making the subject more relevant to every student's life. Educators must stay current on best practices and provide activities that will allow the student to be prepared globally.
As trusting relationships are developed and student interest are taken into consideration personal growth is accomplished by both the students and teacher. Many times we learn just as much from students as they learn from us. Displaying warmth and compassion shows students that teachers love them and demonstrates how they should treat others. Developing trusting relationships happens over time and does not happen by accident. It involves personal conversations about goals, personal interest, and taking time to share experiences. To be a mentor to every student, a teacher must project positivity, set high expectations for oneself, demonstrate fairness, and be consistent in actions. In doing so, students can see appropriate adult behaviors first-hand and begin to emulate them as they mature.
I believe that all children have the ability to learn and the right to a quality education. All children should have the opportunity to learn from professional, well-informed teachers who are sophisticated and knowledgeable, both in their area of expertise and life. Certainly, every child has different learning styles and aptitudes; however, by having a personal relationship with every student a teacher can help each student be successful. By recognizing every student's potential and having individual goals for each, a teacher can accommodate personal needs and encourage the pursuit of academic aspirations.
When teachers nurture individual talents in each child, educators can build self-esteem and possibly encourage a lifelong skill or talent. In addition to having relationships with one's students, it is vitally important for teachers to form partnerships with fellow educators. Collaboration amongst teachers will promote the sharing of ideas, methods, and provide a network of support. By working as an educational team, teachers will continue to develop their craft and give the best education possible to their students. Teamwork and collaboration create a “family” feel within the school.
Strong relationships are the key to learning. Creating a welcoming, respectful, and engaging learning climate is the responsibility of the leader of the building. Relationships and connections between educators and families create a community feel. Leadership is fundamental in creating an atmosphere where children, parents, and teachers interact in a positive and collaborative nature. Active participation by all stakeholders is a true mark of a successful learning environment. Early education is such an important milestone of a person’s life. The knowledge and experience during this fundamental time is the foundation of many educational and social skills which are necessary for a successful life.
Many have referenced the statement, “There is no significant learning, without significant relationships.” , and it has proven to be true in all settings throughout my experience in education. My belief that one's ability to build and maintain trusting relationships determines the level of success you see professionally and personally. This skill provides you with the opportunity to create a trusting and friendly learning environment. Talented teachers and an enriched curriculum produces happy students and families. When students and families are happy they are more engaged and active within the school. Student learning experiences are increased when parents and community leaders are aware of the curriculum and have opportunities to share expertise. It is very energizing for me to work with others that share the same sense of excitement and passion of creating engaging learning experiences for students. I remain honored to accept the responsibility and opportunity to lead others in forming a strong foundation for future successful and productive citizens.