It’s interesting how, after twenty-three years of life, I still have the ability to discover so much about myself in just three months. Throughout the last three months, middle schoolers have brought out some values and qualities in myself that I never knew existed. I have found that I value the knowledge of my roles and responsibilities. I value the completion of goals and the feeling of accomplishment. I have found that I am observant, caring and empathetic and I have learned that these qualities both shape me as a person and, more specifically, as an educator.
I want to know exactly what is being asked of me where ever I am. What is my role? What are my responsibilities? What part do I play in the community I am a part of? How can I serve and model authentic caring and enthusiasm to all around me? In the classroom, those who have taught for a while may say that my role is to simply to teach. I am, after all, the teacher. However, if it were that easy, I don’t think that the field of education would be where it is today. A dear friend of mine recently shared a quote with me. The quote is by Fred Buechner. He says, “Your place is where the world’s greatest need meets your greatest love.” It is all about a blend of these two things for me. What do my students need? What is my greatest love? I really found the balance of these two things to be extremely challenging during my experience in the middle school over the past two months. I believe that every student has the ability to learn. I also believe that it is my responsibility to do anything and everything within my power to make learning happen for my students. I am constantly watching students, observing their behavior in class and with different assignments so that I can analyze their needs. What am I providing for my students that is aiding them in the learning process? What factors am I able to control with their learning? How can I do something differently in order to get the best results from my students? These are all questions I ask every day when I am writing lesson plans. I think about how I phrase everything I present to my students. I think about how they interact with one another and how they interact with me. I have found that the belief that it is my responsibility to cater to each students’ need, to be close to my heart after taking a class on inclusions. There it was brought to my attention that there are such a broad arrange of needs in any one classroom and although it is my responsibility to take my entire class to point A to point B or C, I cannot possibly do so without catering to individual needs of my students.
Also, due to my struggles to please those around me, I have found that I have an incredible work ethic. I had no idea that I was willing to work so hard to achieve the goals I set before myself. I am able to reflect on what I have done, make changes and try again. I am flexible, knowing that I will constantly have to learn and grow as my students and this field learn and grow. I am willing to take a look at myself: my attitude, my creativity, my education, my communication, my relationships and see how I can makes changes in order to better both myself and the effect I have on my students.
I found that I find great value in the ability to be comfortable. I believe that when I am comfortable, I am willing to take risks and show my students and coworkers my authentic self. I have a need to feel safe in my community and I believe that my students have this same need. I have also found that in order for me to be comfortable, those around me have to feel comfortable; they have to feel safe. Because I am a very intuitive person, I am constantly gauging the energy in each room I enter. I want to know how the words and actions I portray, can create a specific mood or environment in the classroom. This reinforces the value I place in a powerful sense of community in my classroom. I know I will need to build this environment in the beginning of the year and have opportunities throughout the academic year to reinforce that community. I have the strengths and ability to do that through empathy, care and
I found that it doesn’t matter what age of youth I am working with, that I have the ability to relate to them. I have a personality that is easy to get along with. I make people feel like they belong…and I like that. Along with this ability to make people feel like they belong, I am all about second chances, forgiveness and letting students know that today is a new day…everyday is new and that they have the ability to start over. I am a positive person and show students that everyday by smiling and caring.
In my development as a teacher, I know that I will continue to learn and grow. I am curious. I want to know what resources are available to help me help my students. If I don’t know something, I am on the web, in the library, researching and doing whatever possible to get the information, gain the skills I need to assist my students.