The quest to be a better teacher-A A +A
Thursday, March 7, 2013
(My guest writer for my column today is a teacher who views learning as something wonderful. She wishes to inspire readers to realize that life-long learning is a necessity.)
TEACHERS are considered masters in their content areas. However, one teacher cannot be expected to know everything. Hence, if there is one area in which teachers should be experts, it is learning. The best way to show students how to learn is to share our own passions and our own quests for knowledge. When we model our curiosities and the way we find answers, we show students how to love learning.
According to Donald Graves, author and pioneer researcher in the field of teaching writing, the teacher is the chief learner in the classroom. Whatever your beliefs are, the fact is that a good teacher continues to be a student. This could mean you continue to be a student in a graduate class, or you could simply be a student of your own school community. Truth is many different methods of learning exist for those who don't have the time flexibility or money flexibility to attend school. You can attend seminars which can help you polish up your skills and keep you up to date on the latest state of the art information or visit your local library or local community college, and you'll find a wealth of knowledge on all subjects; attend workshops to keep up with technology, the newest teaching strategies, and classroom management techniques; read books and professional journals concerning your issues and you'll find these can be great alternatives to schooling. After all, education exists in many forms.
Professional development is important for the teacher. The rationale is that we cannot nourish our students if we neglect to nourish ourselves. Engaging in professional development can equip teachers to be even better teachers.
Teachers who remain intellectually curious make themselves professionally vital both inside and outside the classroom. They avoid stagnation at all costs and maintain an enviable passion for children and the learning process. They are curious, confident and evolving. In contrast, we are all familiar with the stagnant, cynical, low-energy teachers who seem to be biding their time until retirement and watching the clock even more intently than their students. They don’t seem to realize that the key to teaching is to become absorbed and excited about learning. Understanding that veteran does not equal expert is important. Teachers need to make a conscious effort to further their education in order to teach more rigorous curriculum. They need to stay current with best practices in education, new research on how children learn, and new technologies for the classroom.
A good question to ask at this point is where is the support to make these changes? All teachers need opportunities for quality professional development. Correspondingly, support systems and staff development opportunities need to be available to all teachers, regardless of experience. I am concerned that in these difficult economic times, staff development is being cut at the expense of student learning. Let us not forget that teachers are students, too, and they must not be neglected.
Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on March 07, 2013.