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Beliefs for Action and Interaction

Abstract:
As a teacher there are many things I expect from myself, and I hope that I will be
able to stay that I taught how I believed I would. I do not want to be a teacher that just
follows the guidelines; I want to be a teacher that truly teaches her students. I want to be
the teacher that had an impact on the students, and that not only taught content but life
lessons as well. I want to make sure that as a teacher I stick to my beliefs and am satisfied
with myself.
Critical Incident:
I have wanted to be a teacher for as long as I can remember. I remember growing
up and playing school with my sister and sometimes brother as well, and even playing
school with some of the kids I would babysit. I have been volunteering in classrooms and
taking teacher programs and classes since I was a senior in high school.
One of the most critical incidents that has influenced how I want to teach
happened during our block one field experience. I was placed in Mini University on
western campus here and was in a two and three year old class, so they were slightly
younger than the preschoolers we were supposed to be placed with. I had a very good and
helpful teacher, but the teacher assistant is who really shocked me. I remember the one
day before the students arrived she was sitting there talking to me and the other Miami
student and making fun of one of the little kids in the classroom for being fat in her
words, also note that this was a two year old that clearly still had some baby fat and was
in no way unhealthy or really even over weight. This assistant also talked to us about how
she graduated with a degree not in education and how she hated her job, and really had no
patience or understanding with the kids. I would watch her and listen to her and literally
ask myself, Why is she here?. I knew from then on that this was exactly what I wanted
to do and if there is ever a point in my life where I was acting or feeling like her I would
not take it out on my students. I was shocked that someone who really seemed to dislike
kids so much would work in a daycare, but also wonder how she got hired acting like
this. As a teacher I will always want to know my students more, appreciate my students,
and want to be in the classroom, and if not I do not see the point in being in the classroom
in the first place.
Self:
I have always seen myself as a caring and understanding person, and for as long
as I can remember have wanted to be a teacher. As a student soon to be a teacher I have
learned a lot about how to teach and have gained my own insight on how I should view
my classroom and students. As a future educator I value the diversity that could be in my
classroom, and have learned to enhance my classroom through this. I believe and value
that my classroom will be a nurturing community for students, and definitely not a
worksheet classroom or a teacher that is teaching for the test. I value the power of
education and the impact I can have as a teacher of young children.
I understand that as a teacher I will face tough decisions, and may have issues
with a student, a parent, the school I work for, another teacher I work with, or anything
else. This is something that I will need to learn to deal with as I go through it and is not
something I can solve right now. The thing I do know at this point is that I will stick with
my beliefs and not sell my self-short when a difficult time arises. I do not want to become
the teacher from my critical incident in the preschool I worked in that seemed to hate the
children, and I do not want to become a teacher that conforms to the tests. I want to make
sure I stick to my beliefs and values, and I never ever want to forget about the children
because they are the reason I wanted to teach and the reason I find it so satisfying. I
believe that if I can stay true to myself being a teacher will be all that I can hope for. I
may never be rich, and I may spend half the money I make on my classroom and my
students, but that is no reason for any job and one thing I will have that others will not is
being able to love my job.
Purpose of School:
In Thomas Moores Redefining Education: Cultivating the Soul (2010) he says,
Imagine if our focus in education was on the person rather than the things studied (p.
1). I can only imagine if more teachers thought of teaching like this, but nowadays its
teach for the test and assessment, assessment, assessment all the time. I would
honestly love to say that we were meeting somewhere in the middle of teaching for the
person rather than studying the things, but I truly do not believe this is the case. The
schools purpose is not to make teachers that are drill and practice or stuck teaching how
they are told to. The school should provide teachers with guidance to help the students be
the very best that they can be.
Education is a vague term, and so many people nowadays seem to have a set
definition and are trying to educate for testing. Education should not be one particular
thing; education is something that continues with us throughout our entire lives, and we
are not only educated on curriculum. I believe that if teachers and schools only allowed
for students to learn for a test then they would not be the true educators in this world,
which would be a sad situation. I know from experience though you do not remember or
think back on the teacher you had that only ever talked about a particular subject, rather I
remember the teachers that I was able to gain a relationship with and learn more than just
English or math from.
I had a high school physics teacher that was by far the best teacher I ever had,
which is a lot to say because I do not know too many people that look back to high school
and say physics was their favorite subject. This particular teacher was amazing at
teaching physics, and I actually did learn a lot about physics, but he also was not only
worried about physics. Every morning he started by asking any news we had and asking
about all the sports and clubs that had a competition and how they did. He talked to us
about things in life that would pay off, and one thing I know he always told us that I for
some reason couldnt forget is to always use the word yes. This may seem like a
strange lesson in high school, but this also seemed to be the time it was crucial to hear.
He told us not to say ya or yeah or sure or anything but yes it was respectful and
would pay off later on and makes us sound more professional. Now, I do not even know
if this is true, but I can say I always answer adults with yes and it will always stick with
me.
Having this teacher that truly cared was the purpose of the school. I believe they
need to provide teachers that care and the purpose of education does not stop with the
subjects in school, and this is something both the school, and the teachers, and the parents
all need to understand for success.
Vision of Children:
As a future teacher I believe that our view on children is very important. Our job
is to literally work with children, so I have to say teachers that complain or do not like
children really just baffle me and make me want to ask them why they went into
education in the first place. I believe that children are often misunderstood, and therefore
seen as a problem. I am not saying that I will not have my bad days as an educator
and get fed up with shenanigans going on in my classroom, but I do believe that as an
educator we need to understand our students and really see where they are coming from.
We need to let our students know that we care about them as individuals, and be able to
not only trust them but also gain their trust. In Marilyn Watsons Learning To Trust
(2003) she states, Knowing that all children want and need to belong to be loved and
protected by caring adults and to fit in with their peer group can help us look through
their troublesome behavior to see the vulnerable child behind the bothersome or
menacing exterior (p. 30). This in my opinion is how we need to see our students, and
how we should go about teaching them. Viewing our students knowing they need to be
nurtured and cared for will really help how the students react to you as their teacher in
most cases in my opinion.
In Gunilla Dahlberg and Peter Moss Ethics and Politics in Early Childhood
Education (2005) states, What the child has got to say has often been excluded,
marginalized, ignored or just been seen as something cute or funny. Listening can make
us both surprised and shocked as we find out how rich and intelligent childrens thoughts
are (p. 101). Often times I believe that students are not seen for their full potential, and
as an educator it is important to understand that the students are not incapable of things
and giving them responsibility and understanding that they are a part of our classroom is
key. It is important that teachers understand they are not the only ones who can do things
in the classroom. One of the most important things a teacher can do for her students is
listen, and understand that our students are not always thinking about schoolwork and it
is good to get to know our students outside the classroom. It is key that we try our hardest
to understand our students as children because then we will be able to better understand
them as our students and how they work.
After my field experience this year I realized how important student interactions are
and how important it is to listen to our students. I had a young boy in my class having a
bad day and he did not seem to be very respectful or want to listen to me at all. I was not
sure what was going on and it just seemed like he was not having a good day with school.
I tried my hardest not to let this discourage me, and not allow his actions to make me
hostile towards him, but rather I tried talking to him without asking what was going on. I
walked over while he was reading and said, I really like that book. He looked at me and
sighed and said, Not like again and I was very confused, but it seemed like he did not
want to even talk to me. I asked what he meant by that, and he told me he is sick of
people always using the word like. So, as an instant reaction I said, like, you mean when
people like, talk, like this and they always want to say like because like I dont know but
like this is not something you like to hear like all the like time, he smiled. He started
to laugh and said like yeah. I continued to talk to him and told him I was just saying I
liked the book he was reading and not taking like that. I then moved on and worked
with other students around the room.
Later that day that same young man came up to me during partner reading with a
big smile and asked if I wanted to read with him because, I like to think we are friends
he said. I smiled and told him I would love to read with him. This is how I want my
students to see me. I want them to know that I am their friend, and I want to be able to
put a smile on their face when they are having a bad day. I understand that as a teacher
my main purpose is not to be students friends, but I believe that it is a great thing when a
student can call you a friend and trust you. This is the type of view I want to have of
children. I want to be able to see them as friends and understand to better work with them
as students. I do not want to see them as just kids and give them the ability to get away
with things through this excuse. I want to be able to hold my students to things and trust
them and view them as actual people rather than kids.
Role of Teacher:
The teacher plays many roles in their classroom and they are not only the teacher,
but a leader, a mentor, a decision maker, an assessment giver, a reporter, a friend, a
question master, a shoe tier, a lost and found and so much more. One thing the teacher
must do in their classroom is create an environment that is nurturing and open to all
students. I believe that people learn best when they are nurtured as well as challenged,
when they are allowed to explore, experiment, and take risks. We learn when we feel
good about ourselves and others, when we trust the environment and the people in our
lives when we are safe (Ayers, 1993 p. 73). This is not just an important quote I found,
but something I completely agree with and believe in as well. I hope that I can say this is
true of my classroom because if I can create this feeling for my students as their teacher I
will definitely be fulfilling my duties.
As a future teacher I feel my role will be to understand each individual in my
classroom, and gain the students trust as well as be able to trust my students. I need to
make the students feel welcomed in the classroom, and feel a sense of community. I
know some of the decisions I make as a teacher may not always be the best, but making
quick decisions is something we do all day as teachers and it is not always possible for us
to see absolutely everything that happens. I believe that I will be a teacher that talks
through my problems with students, and I will try to hear what they have to say before
just jumping to conclusions. During my field experience this semester I saw my teacher
yell at a student because she saw them doing something they were not supposed to be
doing, but I would see from a different perspective why they were doing that. She a
majority of the time would stop after and ask the student what was going on and hear
their reasoning to solve the problem, which is how I would like to be.
As a future teacher I honestly can say that my drive is the students. Going to field this
semester at a school forty minutes away and waking up at 6:30am every morning is not
something I would do if I did not want to be there, but I had so much fun and such a great
experience that I absolutely loved it. I wanted to go every morning to see the students and
see how they would learn, and want to read with me, and get excited when I would teach
a lesson. I was definitely tired by the end of it, but I would go back to that in an instant,
which is a good thing because it is going to be my future. If it were not for the children in
my classroom this would not be something I enjoyed, and I do not know how I would be
able to handle the tough situations, but they make it all worth it.
Conclusion:
Becoming a teacher requires me to look deep into my beliefs so that I am able to
stick with them throughout my teaching. I will not fall into being a teacher that teaches
for the test, but I hope to teach for the person instead. I want to be able to gain the trust
and build relationships with my students as well as fulfill all the roles that I need to in
order to be the successful teacher that I believe in.
Works Cited

Ayers, W. (1993). To teach: The journey of a teacher. (p. 73). Teachers College Pr.

Dahlberg, G., & Moss, P. (2005). Ethics and politics in early childhood education. (p.
101). RoutledgeFalmer.

Katz, L. (2006). Standards of experience. Champaign, IL: Clearinghouse on Education
and Parenting: University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign.

Moore, T. (2010, August 02). Redefining education: Cultivating the soul. Huffington
Post. Retrieved from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/thomas-moore/redefining-
education-cult_b_666019.html

Watson, M. (2003). Learning to trust. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.