What kind of teacher will you be?

A teacher’s role is ever shifting, changing, molding, and adapting to their student’s needs.   Sometimes you will have to be their cheerleader, other times you’ll need to be their drill sergeant.   The most important role you are to your students is their care giver.   Show them in more than one way that you care.   Your students are as diverse as society.   Take time to learn how best to show students you care for them.   If students feel that you care about them as people, they will do more for you as their student.

I learned from the Bondy&Hambacher article that teachers have the perfect foundation to stimulate social change in under served populations.   When a teacher takes the time to understand a student’s background, they can teach that student in ways beyond the generalized curriculum.   Ask your students how they feel about school and adults.   See where they are discriminated against in society, even at an adolescent age.   See where students face injustice and teach them that the status quo will remain so long as they stay silent.   Be their advocate, while teaching them how to advocate for themselves.

One quote that really stuck with me from the Jennifer Collins article is the quote:

“What I have come to realize is that the
land of perfect lessons doesn’t exist. We are
human beings who are tasked with working with
other human beings.”

We all want to be the best teachers we can be, but we also much accept that not every lesson is going to be the best lesson ever no matter how much we prepare.   Be authentic in your care and delivery.   That’s what’s gonna count.   Demonstrate and uphold the value that we’re all human.   We are bound to make mistakes, just like our students will.   What’s important is that we learn from our mistakes together.

As I consider how best to approach my students in the Bering Straits region, I think of myself when I was a student.   What kinds of things affected me?   What social injustices did I face when I was growing up?   Has there been improvement over the years?   I end with a poem written by my 5th grade teacher, who is King Island Inupiaq and holds the same masters degree in which I am currently working on.   I hope that it helps teachers who plan to teach in rural Alaska or to Alaska Native children.   Read it and explore more on the Alaska Native Knowledge Network!

Always teaching
Always learning
An Elder speaks
While listeners
observe intently Learning from brain to heart

Lessons given
Lessons learned
Through oral speech
Knowledge passed
Knowledge gained
Through listening carefully

Stories told
Stories hold
Such treasured wisdom
That can only be passed
From an Elder to younger ones
In the Native language

Quiet settles as she speaks
A world created
In the minds
Of each individual
Always learning
Always teaching

–yaayuk alvanna


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