1.) Read “What I wish my Professor had told me” and “Let’s care shine through”. Discuss what you can learn from those articles for your own practice. Describe how you will create a safe and engaging learning environment for all students.
I think that as I look at what lies ahead there are two points that stand out to me the most in these two articles: there is no such thing as a perfect lesson, and how I should strive to care for my students, putting their well-being and best interest before content.
I often struggle with the idea of teaching now that I am in it and am able to do it in the classroom, and my struggles only seem to increase. It often seems that in everything that we fallible humans partake in, there is error, mistakes, misjudgment, bias, and often lack of perspective, a selfish view that puts us in the center of the universe. It seems that in all of the things we do in life, we all come up short of doing it perfect, we may be close to perfection, but there is really, always room to get better. Some love this challenge, some love to chase this never-ending struggle to become the best that they can be. I too enjoy this process, but for some reason, teaching is different for me.
The emotional, social, and physical complexity of teaching, all that it is, the diversity that it tries to coherently bring together, is daunting. It is not as simple as making a cut, a weld, catching a fish, or making a basket, it is a work that deals with small human beings, other people’s children. This responsibility, great responsibility, deems this struggle for perfection one that is not really fun, but necessary, a necessity, and one that drives a responsible teacher to always say, “did I do enough’, “can I be satisfied with that lesson?’. I think that a lot of this responsibility is not necessarily brought upon by the students but it is the responsibility to the administration, parents, and law that bring a heavy hand upon a teacher. Because of the diversity of our country, and people who believe in “no absolutes’, it leaves our society at the mercy of the wind of people’s ideas about what should be taught, what shouldn’t… It leaves us trying to make “standards’ in a world that doesn’t have any “standards’ of its own. I guess I am just overwhelmed at the idea of teaching, all that it is, its responsibilities, its struggles, and its lack of pay. Teachers really do have one of the most underrated professional jobs in America in my opinion. I guess I just have to accept the struggle for that “perfect lesson’.
I think that to create a safe and engaging learning environment there has to be structure, but structure with flexibility, allowing students to have fun with varying types of lessons that can engage students who like to learn in many different ways. I think that connecting back to the “real world’ and giving students real-life examples and applications of the knowledge that they are learning makes it more meaningful and worthwhile for the students. I also want to try and cater to their likes as much as possible during the lessons, allowing choices for them to make on the assignments so that they can learn about things that they want to learn about in context of the course material, (crosscutting concepts).
2.) Include one link that has good classroom management strategies.