A small town girl takes on the world

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Learning to Teach

It struck me tonight that I am, indeed, learning how to teach. I'm told that I will never stop learning (as I am teaching), and that teaching is, in fact, the best way to learn. One of my classes is actually called "Teaching for Learning". It's all very confusing, but I suppose the point is to remind us that we are never solely teachers. We are also learners, and will always be. Perhaps that's the most important thing for us to teach our students: how to be open to learning.

Two weeks into this program, and I've already questioned what I'm doing here. It's amazing what change will do to a person's confidence. At the risk of sounding stupid, or pathetic....this program is hard work! I am pretty sure I could get by alright without fully engaging myself, but that's certainly not how I do things. The program is forcing me to challenge all the things about my teaching that I always red flagged as "something to work on": preparedness, pre-thinking, planning and re-planning. Last week, as I was in class listening to m professor talk about developing a lesson plan, I thought, "This is so much I really cut out for something that requires this much dedication and preparedness?"

Well, I've had a few days to really let that sink in, and I think the answer is, simply, "YES!" I have been motivated to teach this way by the students I have worked with in the past. As they drift a little further into my past, I think I'm letting myself the important lessons they taught me. Going into this profession is about me, because it's my career, and it's my passion....but it's also about the students who aren't getting the attention they deserve. It's also about the students who are given the impression that they can't do something because they don't know English well enough, or because their parents don't sit with them at the table at night doing homework. It's about the students who have it in them to do great things, but are afraid to because they might be laughed at. It's about them! That's where the passion really is, for me: helping those students see their talents and abilities for what they really are (glorious!), and then watching what they do with that.

So, here I am, on a Sunday night, working on lesson plans and getting distracted by my own, rediscovered......naive ideologies. But you know what? I like these ideologies, because they give me hope that I can change a dangerous path for someone. They empower me to be a quality teacher who is prepared and ready for the tough challenges. I'd rather be empowered, ready, and perhaps naive than disenfranchised, bored, and cynical.

I suppose I should continue getting my work done.....toodles!

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