Introduction

January 24th, 2017

Hello,

My name is Karina Schlagel. I am currently a senior here at UW-Whitewater. I am an English Education major, with a creative writing minor (former art minor)  and in the future I hope to teach freshman and sophomore courses in high school. Overall, the influential teachers I had along with my high school experiences propelled me toward an educational profession.

I come from a medium sized high school which is probably what I would prefer to teach at as well. I had the opportunity to learn in a high school where the teachers knew my name and my classmates knew each other but it was a large enough facility that it didn’t have the “clique-y” feeling that smaller groups often have. The most memorable teachers I had came from the Art and English departments.

I was very fortunate to have been able to attend a high school with such a strong art program. We had three full time art teachers that occupied neighboring classrooms connected by joint doorways. Each had their own unique and very quirky way of teaching the related subject. Mersch, Dercks and Miller were- and are- some of the most inspiring, funny and enthusiastic people I have met. Being able to attend similar courses taught in completely different ways was very beneficial, as it demonstrated the many possibilities a subject can have and how heavily a teacher can influence what is being taught.

My high school English course experiences were also completely different. I had both incredible, passionate teachers as well as teachers who I can’t say even appeared like they wanted to be there each day. Sophomore year, I was in the basic required English course which was being taught by one of the younger staff members. Though it was apparent that he had little taste for Romeo and Juliet, he made the information accessible and enjoyable through his humorous and candid teaching style.

Later on, during my junior year, I had a tenured, should-have-retired-years-ago-and-let’s-you-know-it, kind of teacher. She allowed no room for opinions other than her own, did not promote class discussion, and had little interest in the content she was teaching; which was made apparent by the fact that she out-right told us she hadn’t read the books for a few years.

Finally, my senior year, I opted to take an elective English course taught by N. Curtis, who is by far one of the most interesting people I know. The course was “21st Century Communications,” which included sections on Ethics, public speaking, close reading and debate. Along with the course content, this teacher was able to relate back to current events and pop culture as well as mix in relevant personal stories that were entertaining and engaging. The class revolved around group discussions and the sharing of ideas to engage with the assigned material.

The takeaway from my experiences have helped me understand what I believe makes a good teacher. A good teacher is one that can take course content and work with it in different ways to achieve success with a range of students and their learning styles. A good teacher should be enthusiastic about what they’re teaching and honest about subject matter. Not everyone is going to like all of the material to be covered over a semester- and that’s okay, but being able to take that topic and still keep students engaged and on task is an important trait for teachers to posses. In that respect, being familiar with assigned coursework and actively promoting the sharing of ideas in the classroom to further academic study is essential. In my opinion though, one of the most important aspects of being a good teacher is having the ability to relate to students and create working relationships within the classroom. “When teachers form positive bonds with students, classrooms become supportive spaces in which students can engage in academically and socially productive ways. (Hamre & Pianta, 2001).”

 

 

Sources

Gallagher, E. (n.d.). Department of Applied Psychology. Retrieved January, 2017, from http://steinhardt.nyu.edu/appsych/opus/issues/2013/fall/gallagher

Hamre, B. K., & Pianta, R. C. (2001). Early teacher–child relationships and the trajectory of children’s school outcomes through eighth grade. Child Development, 72(2), 625-638.

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2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Anonymous  |  January 24th, 2017 at 9:30 pm

  • 2. Liesl Ziegeweid  |  February 25th, 2017 at 7:53 pm

    I totally agree with your “what makes a good teacher” portion of your blog post. I too had a teacher like the one you mentioned in high school. She was supposed to retire the year before but ended up staying and she made class so unbearable, so I know exactly what you mean. I think that’s really awesome that you had other such great english and art teachers that inspired you to teach. What you said about “not everyone is going to like the content you are going to teach, but its important to make it relatable and engaging” I think is very true. I know a lot of people who hated a subject area until they had an awesome teacher for that class and then they didn’t mind it or even started to enjoy it.

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