Final Reflections

May 6th, 2017

“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).’

At the start of this semester, we were asked to discuss what we thought were the qualities of a “Good Teacher.” Written above was my initial response. Now at the end of the semester, looking back at my answer, I don’t think my opinion has changed, so much as expanded. Being enthusiastic, knowledgeable, engaging and personable are crucial; but being informed is the foundation of our success as future teachers.

We must teach as trauma informed educators. This means being aware of the family situations our students come from- single parent homes, incarcerated family members, gang or crime involvement, severe poverty etc. We also have to be culturally informed- being aware of how race, sexuality, gender, and social class shape the identities and experiences of students coming into the class, as well as how stereotypes and social perceptions can (potentially subconsciously) effect our interactions with students. Coming from a high school that was far from diverse, learning about trauma informed teaching and culturally informed teaching was invaluable; especially when working with my cooperating teacher in the Beloit school district. In most ways, it was a totally new experience.

“Teachers understand that children learn differently.”

In class, we discussed the differences between psychologists’ theories and how they can be applied in the classroom. This helped me to understand that children learn differently. I think the most helpful tool we looked at in class was Piaget’s stages of development and the different tests we have to assess where a student may fall on that continuum.

 

The most important thing I learned this semester was the importance of student centered teaching and how it can effect a classroom. I also think that the way we can utilize technology in class plays a huge part of student-centered practice. Being able to look at different methods and kinds of tech was really informational.

 

After graduation, I’m not sure that I will necessarily continue this blog, but I do think it would be beneficial to keep an unofficial log of experiences related to my educational career. Staying up to date and connected between my professional online avenues such as my Linked In account and my resume will be necessary to maintain my digital identity.

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