Remember childhood? Remember the fun and the struggles of growing up and attending school. Though for each of us our memories vary, there are some attributes of being a student that are common to us all. Remembering these attributes is the first step in becoming a great educator. When you look around your classroom at the faces of your students, it is crucial to understand that these learners are much more than just students. They are complex individuals, who like you and me, are trying to figure out life and how to deal with the challenges that confront them. Today more than ever, children come to school often carrying heavy burdens from home. It is absolutely impossible for a child to do their best at school, when the foundation of their lives is built upon a see-saw. Though we cannot change all of what these children bring with them, we can offer them a sense of stability in our classroom. In creating an environment that allows for expression and investigation, that comes without threats, we instill a sense of safety. In doing so the educator sets the arena for the need of taking educational risks. These risks are essential to learning and are available because our students do not fear retribution. for mistakes. This is not, I am afraid ,necessarily something they have elsewhere.
Great educators not only support their student’s basic human needs, they truly care about each and every child. They stay alert to behavioral changes, and connect individually with the children. In doing so they, accomplish two critical goals. The first is to ensure the well-being of each child and to become proactive to run interference if necessary. The second is to provide the learning environment the child needs to succeed.
The best educators stay on top of their game. They continue learning themselves, therefore role modeling for our students and accessing then implementing up to date knowledge taking into account how children learn best. We now know that children do not all leanrn the same way. The best educators develop lessons incorporating the variety of learning styles, therefore opening the door to education for all learners.
Yes, it is an incredibly time consuming responsibility and it takes a tremendous amount of dedication, patience and a sense of humor. But look at the results of all that work. It is within that dedication, that teachers have the immeasurable ability to create a desire to learn, and help build confident human beings who move beyond the four walls to a future where anything is possible.