The first attribute of good teaching and what may be my best is classroom management. I have experienced almost every situation in my short time in teaching. I have learned that anything can and will happen and that I will never truly be prepared for every situation. The key is to have a level head, treat the students with respect and process every situation with them when it is over. The students will respect the fact that you are consistent and are willing to stand up to them to ensure a productive environment. The students also will respect you for processing your decisions with them even if they may not have a say in how you make them. If you treat them as people, get involved in their lives and process the world with them they will see you as a dedicated mentor not just someone cashing a paycheck. I know I will never see every situation coming but I know that I am capable of keeping a clear head and a strong room no matter what I have to go through.
The second attribute and what may be my best is classroom management. I have experienced almost every situation in my short time in teaching. I have learned that anything can and will happen and that I will never truly be prepared for every situation. The key is to have a level head, treat the students with respect and process every situation with them when it is over. The students will respect the fact that you are consistent and are willing to stand up to them to ensure a productive environment. The students also will respect you for processing your decisions with them even if they may not have a say in how you make them. I know I will never see every situation coming but I know that I am capable of keeping a clear head and a strong room no matter what I have to go through.
My third attribute is my ability to teach the skills students need to exceed. My first goal as a teacher is to create better students. I hope to impart content to my students but if some content is missed in the course of bettering them for future academic and real life endeavors then I can accept that. I want students to not only be able to read and memorize but to think and respond. I want students that can write essays, participate in discussions and demonstrate their knowledge through presentations with public speaking. I want to prepare the students to be able to take notes and summarize broad topics. I want them to become highly functioning students and have skills that transfer to the real world. I am never content to just keep students at the same level of academic ability. They fear the requirements I put on them when they start my classes but thank me for after. I believe that is the truest sign of a good teacher.
My last attribute is my ability to make use of broad based themes to link content and make it relevant. The students often find social studies to be irrelevant to their day to day lives. They cannot grasp what the causes of the cold war have to do with their lives. I show them that the cold war leads to Osama Bin Laden and the current war which leads to our national debt, something that will affect their lives for years to come. I strive to create active and engaged citizens that view the past and the present as connected pieces and use their knowledge to decide the future. Students are growing and changing every day and it is hard to make something dry like economics relevant but if you show its connection to their lives it becomes far easier.
How to deal with a variety of learners
The key to being a good teacher in regards to different ways of learning is not only to teach students where they are comfortable, but also to help the students to work on those areas that they struggle with. My time as a teacher has taught me that you have to be dedicated to observing students. You must find out why your “problem” students might be acting out, be it a bad day or the work is hard for them, and in the course of all this not miss those that sit their quietly. It is a tireless exercise but one that is made easier through experience. A student may be auditory or visual learner and they may struggle with written tests but excel verbally. The fact is in their academic lifetimes they must be able to do all these things to succeed in school and also to be successful in their everyday lives. You must help students to maximize time in their comfort area as well as to expand their confidence in areas they struggle. The key to helping them in both areas is to have clear and defined expectations. The most basic answer however is that you have to keep up your effort. The response of the students, if you provide consistent effort, will fuel you to keep going.
Social studies allows us to tackle so many different areas but the key to me is consistency so it does not matter a student’s learning ability, race, socioeconomic background or beliefs they all are pushed to work and learn. In my time at Rivier I took an assessment class that changed the way I teach. I make sure to let the students know ahead of time what I want from them so they can work on the skills that I am looking for through clear rubrics. I want units that ask the students to research their own information, to create group projects that they have to present, to take notes on those projects and use them later in formal assessment. If they struggle I get them to self advocate and ask for help not just from me but from their fellow students as well. I want them to be able to learn from each other on an informal level, to constantly expect me to be challenging them and push them to come up with in depth answers. I want to have creative lessons with interesting primary source documents but still have them able to take notes from a PowerPoint lecture because they will see more of them in high school and college.
The students need to learn that the internet is not the only tool they need to survive but also to be able to distinguish between good information and unqualified information on the internet. The students need to learn how to learn that teachers will expect from them more than they are used to giving. I also believe that you have to have a grading system that allows for students that may struggle in one area to still be able to succeed overall in the class. The students have to be recognized not as something you bend to your class but a living organism that you have to shape and you need to shape yourself with it. In short good teaching with consistent practices helps to alleviate the questions and problems that may come up with the most diverse class.