It almost goes without saying that in order to be a successful teacher, one must be able to adapt both to varying teaching environments as well as various types of students. I feel that this is, or at least should be if it isn’t already, a relatively common understanding within the world of teaching.
In terms of teaching within the rural parts of Alaska, the assigned article titled Effective Teachers of Eskimo and Indian Students, promptly addressed the need for this adaptation within the first paragraph:
“There is a prominent villain in Indian education-the ethnocentric teacher who strives to destroy his students’ cultural identity in order to propel them into the American mainstream. Confronted with silent, resistive Indian students, he then quotes chapter and verse of cultural deprivation texts to rationalize his own teaching failure (Kleinfeld, 1).”
The distaste that the author feels towards teachers who seek to impart their own beliefs and background onto those in a completely different cultural setting is reason enough to believe that a certain amount of “common sense” needs to be achieved prior to entering a classroom vastly different to the one that a teacher may have previously known.
In order to even stand a chance at teaching a subject to an entire classroom of students, the subject matter must be relative to their society. If their lifestyles do not stem from the standard American background, then the subject matter needs to be altered in order to better suit the student populous. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that the teacher is completely restricted from teaching new, unfamiliar material to the students that doesn’t pertain directly to their personal lives or history, since such exposure could be beneficial for their mental growth. It needs to be understood that relating subject matter to the student and making information important to their lives is a critical skill needed in order to be a successful educator.
Incorporating new ideas and various strategies for successful classroom management does have a need to fit within an array of cultural contexts and must be altered regularly in order to best suit the needs of the student population.