Habit 1: Learners-Teachers

Habit #1: To be thoughtful and caring learner-teachers, open and eager to know and to be known and to respect self and others.

Parker Palmer talks about the connection between knowing self and teaching others. He says that to be a good teacher you must know who you are and teach who you are. If a teacher is not open to being known and disconnected from the students and the material, the possibility to learning decreases. A teacher must be excited to know the students as a whole being and not just as a learner. During my student teaching I felt it was important for my students to know who I am and also to understand that I am human. When students asked questions that I did not know the answer to, I would admit that to them; then together we would research to find an answer. It is important for the students to know that you never stop learning. Being a life-long learner is an important part of my own identity and a great way to model life-long learning is to share that with students and make it a whole-class experience.

I have come to understand now more than ever that I am truly a learner-teacher. I have probably learned more from my students these in past months than they may have learned from me. I have learned about my students and why they are the way they are. I have learned about the subject matter, through exploring it together during the lessons. I have learned practical skills about teaching, as my students have always kept me on my toes.

When I first began my student teaching I was very worried that my students would not like me; that is when someone gave me a very important piece of advice. They said that being liked and being respected are two very different things. Students will not always learn from a teacher they like but they will always learn from a teacher they respect. They explained that you must start the year being extra strict (more so than you would usually be) because you can always loosen up later. If you don’t build the foundation with rules and high-expectations, you will never be able to manage the class as you would like to.

I followed this advice closely and I am still so grateful that I received it. I built a strong foundation with my students and explained to them what I would expect. As the semester went on, I was able to loosen up and not be so strict but the students never forgot my expectations.

My artifact is the notes that I took during a Professional Development training on Everyday Math. This professional development session was held during a regular school day and my mentor teacher gave me the option to spend the day in the classroom substitute teaching or to join in on the PD day with the rest of the 1st grade staff. I chose to do the professional development because I wanted to know more about the Everyday Math curriculum. I felt that it was extremely helpful. I learned so much about the curriculum and how it should be taught.

In the future I will always take advantage of professional development trainings and seminars. I think that the only way to teach my students everything they deserve is to continue my own learning process.

Professional Development Notes

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