Monthly Archives: February 2015

Teachers are superheroes too.

When I was a little girl, I would play with my friends and we would pretend to be superheroes. We would each pick our respective superpowers, and most often than not, I would pick invisibility, super strength and the ability to fly. For me, those were the best superpowers a hero can ever have to fulfill his/ her duties in ” saving the world”.

After having read the references provided for on teaching skills, I came to realize that like superheroes, teachers possess so many ” superpowers”, and that they continue to use these skills for the sole benefit of helping others– their learners.

Let’s begin with instructional planning and assessment skills. Like any good superhero, a teacher has the ability to identify the specific expectations and learning outcomes of his/ her students and appropriately plan strategies and methods to target those learning experiences and behaviors with the aid of his/ her chosen materials as arsenal for the students’ progress and development. He/ she makes sure that the plan is SMART, meaning, it is specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time- bound. After all, the end objective is for him/ her to bring out the best in every student that he/she would have to “save”.

The teacher must also have an awesome classroom management skills. I cannot imagine any superhero that can work well in a chaotic setting. From Batman to Ironman, I have always noticed that their brilliant minds work extraordinarily well when they are in an organized surrounding. Just like those superheroes, teachers make sure that they create and maintain an orderly learning environment for their students because they recognize that their minds produce best results when they are exposed to an environment or atmosphere that fosters creativity and that through their recognition of rules, students’ develop their own routines and they learn to have a sense of responsibility for their actions and behaviors.

Teachers are also known for their motivational skills. Just like the superheroes who know what makes their nemeses tick off, teachers can identify and understand what triggers students’ behaviors and actions and provide the support and guidance that they need in order to adapt to any learning environment. Teachers also recognize opportunities to praise and reward students when the situation calls for it, and are always there to explain the value of being a part of something, which is the code for encouraging students to give importance to the formation of good relationships and affiliations.

When it comes to interpersonal skills, teachers serve as good role models of what they preach. They show respect not just in their words but in their actions, and they will, as much as they can, condemn the wrong doing but not the doer. Like most superheroes, teachers give students nonjudgemental feedback. They also live by the same rules that they have set for their students, which makes them all the more a suitable figure of authority.

Last but certainly not the least, teachers work well with diversity. Saying this makes me imagine about the Superfriends. Having watched so many episodes of that cartoon makes me appreciate how Superman can work well with Wonderwoman, Batman, The Flash etc. I mean, they did not come from one place and they obviously have so many differences, but despite all those, they chose to respect each other and use their powers for the greater good. Like the Superfriends, teachers are able to recognize diversity in their students and use their differences for their own benefit by taking those differences into account when planning for instructions that will allow them to come up with a variety of teaching alternatives and learning experiences that would aim to recognize students’ individuality and at the same time use those differences as avenues towards successful learning.

Having said all these, I cannot help but imagine myself doing all these tasks in my own classroom someday. And, when I do, I’ll make sure to use all of my “superpowers ” to be the best teacher that I can possibly be.

If teaching is a challenge, then it is a challenge that I accept.

For a full- time mother and a part- time student like myself, I’d have to say that this week has been such a test of my character. And, in my efforts to do well in both my responsibilities, sometimes, I feel that I end up shortchanging one over the other.

But, if teaching is a challenge, then it is a challenge that I am willing to accept, despite the many factors that I, myself, know I need to improve on. For instance, knowledge base teaching. I have not had any teaching class for so many years now, and although enrolling in distance learning is a good way to keep my mind from getting rusty, it still feels different to have an actual, live class where you can share and apply what you’ve learned, and see the reaction of your students instantaneously upon learning something new from you. I actually miss the days when my partner and I would brainstorm about our objectives, our planned games and activities to introduce new lessons, and the kinds of tests that we’ll both have for our individual English Communication Arts (ECA) classes. I miss the thrill of having my boss, the Subject Team Leader, in my class to observe me teach and then explain to me my strengths and areas for improvements. I miss having that kind of chat with a boss who shares with me her knowledge and experiences about working in the academe, as well as her expertise and her genuine hope for you to succeed. I miss having peers come up to me when I feel frustrated about a particular student’s behavior and offer advice about what works for her, tells me to try the same technique and wishes me to have more patience and understanding for these kids. I miss having to be pleasantly surprised about a brilliant idea that came from a 7 year old student on ways to save mother Earth after a discussion of a story we had in our Reading class.

With all these things absent in my current state, I still believe that I can still be a good teacher in the future, especially now that I yearn for more information. I believe that effective teaching means not having to rely on the knowledge that you already have. Instead, one must continue to be hungry for more, because if you stop wanting more knowledge then that’s when you and your teaching methods deteriorate, and then you lose your passion, desire and excitement to teach.
And, since teaching, like so many other things evolve, one must evolve with it. For example, when introducing the topic on nouns to grade one students, instead of presenting pictures of persons, animals, places and things to them– which they can easily identify, I will instead provide them with a letter of the alphabet and then have them give me names of persons, places, animals and things that start with that letter. This way, I make sure that I don’t spoon- feed them with information/ knowledge that they already know but tap their imagination and creative thinking skills that will allow them to visualize those things/persons that are outside the four corners of their classroom. This is also a good way for them to share their knowledge of those things/experiences with their co- learners since I’m sure that each experience will be unique to each child.

I also feel that I should be hungry for more feedback or critiquing and welcome these observations with an open heart. I realized that it is with feedback from others that I learn, reflect and reassess what works and what does not. It is with these feedback that I can develop my skills in my delivery of the content subject and the creation of evaluation and assessments that will help measure my students’ understanding of the lessons. More importantly, I learned that even students can help in my development as an effective teacher and that I should listen to what they have to say about learning because they themselves will experience it with me.

Lastly, with all the seemingly challenging demands of teaching, my prayer is to not lose my disposition– values, attitudes and beliefs, as these will serve as my fuel to help young minds develop and turn into independent and self- sufficient human beings who someday may choose to do the same for the next generation of learners.