Effective teaching is not only teaching the material to students but having a genuine impact on student learning and their passion for learning. These types of teacher accomplish these goals through organization, knowledge of their field and the curriculum, genuine enthusiasm, and a sensitivity to their student’s individual needs. I think good teachers are those that are lifelong learners, always willing to pick up new ways of teaching things or keeping up to date with new curriculum practices. One of the most important things, in my mind, is that good and effective teachers take the time to learn who their students are and are willing to adapt lessons and offer multiple approaches to learning so every student has an opportunity to grasp the material. I would not say my idea of a good, effective teacher has necessarily changed since the beginning of the semester. Rather, I believe my ideas have expanded to include more than just the personality and engagement of the teacher, but the things that no one sees. Things like organization, willingness to go above and beyond the expectations of the material, attention to diversity of learning and students, and much more.
Teachers are held to many standards to maintain the quality of the profession and the quality of the education students are receiving. This semester has taught me a lot about how children grow, especially concerning their intellectual development and how broad the range of abilities in one classroom can be. Piaget’s theory of cognitive development and Bronfenbrenner’ bioecological model are just two examples of the ways children learning changes as they grow and what influences their development. By learning about how my students evolve, I can learn more about contributing to that growth. One example of this would be to use scaffolding to encourage students to challenge themselves to reach information just in the range of their grasp. I learned this by studying Vygotsky’s zone of proximal development.
When thinking of my future, I try to think of how much I’ve learned since studying more about human ability and learning. Through this semester, I think one thing really stood out to my from the course content. It is truly the way a teacher introduces the material and organizes the class content that enables her students to learn in a positive manner. A teacher has the most influence when creating a positive learning environment, when creating assessments that are worthwhile, and when motivating his/her students. This course has taught me a lot about how I can mold my classroom to contribute to a student’s learning experience, and I hope I will continue to develop my knowledge to best serve my students.
On my path to becoming a teacher, I know this continued growth and the way I come off in the professional world are factors that will influence the type of job I am offered. One thing to consider in this endeavor is my digital identity and how I will prepare it to market myself upon graduation. I have yet to truly participate in social media outside the context of Facebook. I think that an important start to creating a positive digital identity is to set up a blog/website devoted to making myself appear as professional in my digital identity as I am when meeting in a face-to-face manner. A good start to this may be starting or continuing this professional blog but enhancing it with a professional picture of myself (not candid) with a devoted presence to my lifelong education learning. LinkedIn is another resource I would consider using to enhance my digital identity. Overall, this is an area that I know I will reflect on and work towards as I continue on my path towards graduation.