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.