Becoming an educator, is so much more than sitting in a classroom lecturing for hours upon hours a day. A teacher is there to care for the students first. Why should a student be limited in care and guidance, because of the teachers lack of interest. Students attend school not only to learn but to grow, that is why, having a student centered progressive classroom just makes sense. If students are more engaged than they are getting the most out of their time in the classroom, they are not limited. For a lot of students, like myself sitting in a classroom most of the day listening to a lecture is highly unproductive. Students tend to “tune out” or miss vital information, because they aren't necessarily interested, or they are not auditory learners. This can result in bad grades and poor performance. Sure there is taking notes, but if the lesson has no meaning, then those notes are useless and just used for repetition. Teaching techniques such as Sketchnoting, or creating a song to help remember. Allowing the students to use a method that would help them with comprehension can only benefit the student, and for those who are struggling may also pick up on another student's methods.
With the rate of technology progression growing day by day, students have an endless supply of resources literally at their fingertips. Through the use of mystery skypes, or virtual field trips students can go and explore and interact with people from all over the world. When using resources such as Skype In The Classroom, there are hundreds of teachers who want to do the same thing with their students. Technology integrated in the classroom is not just research, but it gives students more ideas. Students can now share their projects with the world by simply uploading it to Youtube, or creating a blog. These collaborative documents can be used to showcase students knowledge as an effective summative assessment.
Keeping a positive environment is key. As one of my professors told me, you need to have TRUST. As educators, keeping the bonds with your students help create that trust. They should feel comfortable telling you that they need help, or feel comfortable talking to you about a problem they might be having. The feeling should also be reciprocated allowing students to know that you genuinely care about them and their well- being, because the worst thing you could do is be a frosty, cold teacher who students may see as unapproachable. Students should also be encouraged to be responsible and start to learn self sufficiency. I'm not suggesting a “feed them to the wolves” methods, but giving them daily tasks and classroom roles, such as a door holder or line leader. A great way to teach responsibility would be through a class pet. Students rolls each day could be to feed the animal, and then every weekend (with parents permission) a student can take care of the animal and document what happened, what they did and if they learned anything, this could then be presented and made into a life book about the animal. The class pet goes beyond teaching responsibility, they can be incorporated into science, students could learn about their habitats, life cycle of the animal etc. This is something most people enjoy and will engage students to want to play with the rabbit, guinea pig or whatever animal friend finds their way to the classroom.
As parents, students, and teacher go through the education system, the question of “What makes a good teacher?” is bound to come up eventually. Someone who sits and preaches the standards, in my mind is not the most effective teacher. While teaching standards is important due to standardized testing, it is not the only thing. We as educators are responsible for our students educations and making sure that they have the necessary skills to succeed. So why are we only limited to a tight group of standards? A good effective teacher should be able to connect to real world events and ideas. They should go above and beyond the standards to expand the range of learning for the student. They should also learn and be reminded that their voice and opinions matter.Student led classrooms are able to give students these voices. Instead of sitting a drilling information into their heads, allowing students who understand the concept teach their methods allows them to see the info in another way. This also boosts the confidence of the students were able to explain the material. My job would be to guide them through the lesson, assessing and assisting where needed. Students should not be penalized because they may be having a bad day, or struggling with the materials. Students should be able to work on correcting their mistakes with positive feedback. If students are told “No this is wrong, Fix it.” they are going to have zero confidence and motivation, whereas if they are told “Let's try this again, I like where you were going, but let's recheck.” This way students are getting the help they need without losing their way and feeling as if they are not up to par.
As the 40th President Ronald Reagan once said “There are no such things as limits to growth, because there are no limits to the human capacity for intelligence,imagination, and wonder.” This quote is one of my favorites because President Reagan is correct, you can never stop learning or wondering what is going on. Taking students of field trips, whether to a national park or to the pond down to the school, can give students a more hands on approach to what they are learning. If they are at a battleground students can imagine and wonder what it was like to be there, more than what they learned about in class. Taking field trips can sometimes be a risk, such as going out to observe animals and not seeing any, or due to weather they have to leave early, whatever the risk may be, a teacher should never be afraid to take these risks.
Looking around a classroom, you may notice that not everyone's the same. Not everybody has the same socioeconomic status, religious belief, or even ethnic background as their classmates. Incorporating different cultures into the classroom such as family background projects, guest speakers, or artifacts, can help shed a light on different cultures. Students with different backgrounds and cultures may behave or act differently than some of their other classmates and their is nothing wrong with that. Students should be encouraged to embrace their heritage and customs. Working with students the possibility of incorporating these customs into the classroom could help educate other students about it. Things as simple as having a culture day every month could be a great educational resource, where other classes or even the whole school could be involved. When I was in middle school, we had an event called “Around the World” where every classroom in the 7th and 8th grade actively participated as a different country, with authentic music, clothes, food and games. This got the students actively involved and was perhaps my fondest memory of school. It was more than just learning about countries, it was an indepth look at different cultures around the world. An experience like this could be helpful to incorporate different cultures.
In conclusion, students are meant to have all of the opportunities we can provide for them. Students should be treated as equals, not just heads in a classroom. They should know that their opinions matter and they have a say in their education. When they are giving the freedom to help influence their education with things they are interested in, it helps grow their interests. Classrooms should be a fun and safe educational place for students to feel comfortable to express how they are feeling and any concerns they may have. Students would always feel as if they are included in the classroom setting. Whether it be a cultural, ethnic, or socioeconomic differences, no student should feel as if they are less than they are, and in the classrooms none of these differences mattered. To be a good teacher, you have to put your students first and do everything possible to help them succeed. The world is a wonderful place, and our jobs as educators is to help students become inspired so they will explore it.