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Preparing Students for Tomorrow, Caring for Them Today

Introduction

Teaching is a process that involves the whole being of a teacher. Unbeknownst to the learners before her, she has undergone a lot of learning, experience as a learner, and training herself, which involves her whole being to the point of merging her personal and professional self into one being a teacher. But not all teachers are the same, and not all can provide and meet the needs of learners.

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This essay shall discuss the importance of relationship-building as it relates to the teaching profession. The content will be presented within the context of my personal teaching experiences, research, and skills acquired through professional development training. The style and format will be designed to share my understanding of the profession while pursuing the B.A.A.S. degree and credentials to become a certified public teacher.

Discussion

Teachers possess the power to influence the world by building meaningful relationships with their students. In this essay, I will discuss and identify the characteristics of an effective teacher and his/her impact on society. Further, I will discuss the importance of developing and nurturing these relationships with students while equipping them with the life-long skills needed to be successful in a global technologically advanced society.

Characteristics of an Effective Teacher

It is difficult to define an effective teacher as there are different characteristics she needs to deal with to become effective. Every individual child is unique and requires varying degrees of patience, understanding, expertise, and experience in order for a teacher to deal with him or her in an efficient manner. In most cases, the burden lies on the work attitude of a teacher as much as any other career individual.

Teaching is dealing with people. But beyond the regular interaction, a teacher needs to explore ways and means to interact with her pupils or students with certainty in order to influence what teachers are expected of them such as follows recommended by the National Research Centre on English Learning Achievement (P 3-12):

A good motivator for pupils or students to engage in academic competence. This means that with or without her presence, learners proceed with what has been started in class.

Manages the class well. This means that the teacher is expected to manage behavior, learning, instructional aides as well as be open to methods that could be adapted in-class learning.

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Foster and reinforce cooperation in the classroom so that it is perceived as a positive environment where learners look forward to going. Learners are reinforced for their accomplishments public and privately but the rest are also encouraged to participate in class discussion and activities.

Has appropriate teaching skills that command respect from learners. The teacher uses appropriate vocabulary at the right level, comprehensible words, writing and spelling skills.

Emphasizes literature to encourage learners to read beyond their textbooks in order to complement what is taught and what is available in the class setting.

Encourages writing and reading skills amongst learners either together as teacher and students, as a group, adult volunteer, or as a class.

Matches demand of acceleration with student competence. This means that the teacher understands the need to motivate progress amongst her students or pupils to the next level using what already are gained knowledge and skills in class.

Encourages discipline. The teacher is a model of self-regulation knowing when to act as expected and when to go beyond expectations at the right moments and place. She also encourages her students to be able to address challenges that require appropriate skills and knowledge.

Ability to connect across curricula. The teacher links one curriculum to the other through the facilitation of opportunities for learners. Basic reading and writing are connected seamlessly with other subjects (CELA, P 3-12).

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Professional Development

The professional development of a teacher goes hand-in-hand with her teaching practice. While personal choice and determination are at play in this instance, there are those who remain docile about their career but there are those who persevere to improve and provide their learner’s competitive skills to help them through their various learning stages.

Through current work as a teacher, the individual learns with her students, colleagues, parents, and every other person she may encounter in the teaching process. In addition, further education, as well as openness to available training and workshops, could also help enhance the person and the professional in a teacher. In the end, the learners benefit from these developments as skills and knowledge are always reflected in the teaching process (DuFour and Eaker, p. 123).

Member of Professional Learning Community

To facilitate her own personal, professional and wholesome growth, a teacher is active in the community, specifically, in a professional learning group. A professional learning community is an environment that fosters cooperation between members and officers, provides emotional support, personal and professional growth, and a synergy of efforts between members. The professional learning group usually provides a glimpse, overview as well as sharing amongst members topics on curriculum, processes to enable preparedness, inspire school leadership, discuss and support the implementation of development programs. In addition, the membership guides in school-parent partnerships, as well as proper evaluation and sharing of effective, practices. The group may also start reform efforts to improve practices and policies in order to produce students that excel in many fields. The community will also define a traditional school environment against a professional learning community that is capable of the change process (DuFour and Eaker, p 14-106).

Effective Classroom Management

Classroom management is a challenge for many new teachers. The lack of actual experience and exposure may be the reason behind this. However, Kizlik (P 4) suggests that every teacher should:

“Know what you want and what you don’t want.
Show and tell your students what you want.
When you get what you want, acknowledge (not praise) it.
When you get something else, act quickly and appropriately.”

It is expected that the teacher knows how to properly arrange a room for more effective communication and teaching process. This way, the teacher will not have difficulty in observing all her students so that she will note behaviors and problems. She should have easy access to all her students or pupils and with available teaching aide materials at all times. It also helps to design the room to make it more attractive but not too much to steal attention away from the learning process.

In managing a class, the teacher should set rules and expectations from the pupils or students. She should remind them about proper behavior and respect from time to time but not as often to make it repetitive without reason. All classroom rules must be properly enforced as well as school safety procedures and regulations. These must be explained properly to pupils or students so that they will have a deeper understanding of the rules. Inappropriate behavior should be handled depending on the level of distraction it may cause. However, even trivial disruptions should be discouraged and the major troubles should be properly addressed to avoid repetition (Kizlik, p.8).

More importantly, the management of a class should have the teacher point out clear learning instructions, avoid interruptions, proper sequencing, and focus on the academic task at hand.

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Kizlik further recommends promoting appropriate consequences for actions. Positive consequences result in success, the accomplishment of tasks and expectations, as well as social approval and recognition (P 18). In the same instance, negative consequences should be related to negative behavior. This means punishment in many forms that are appropriate and serves as a challenge for the learners to improve. One teacher I know of has, instead of any physical form of punishment such as standing in front of the class all throughout the session, has allowed a noisy student to narrate to the class the experience he was sharing while the teacher was discussing the lesson. This made the student realize the importance of attention in class. Since then, the student has become attentive while the class is in the discussion.

Differentiated Instructional Strategies

The differentiated instructional strategies help the teacher translate and transfer information and skills to learners. These include the following:

  1. Verbal or Linguistic. This is usually done with prepared reports, instructional materials such as poems or essays, activities that include writing, reading, creating through the use of words, listening, use of diagrams, or provide directions.
  2. Musical or Rhythmic. This refers to the use of melodies such as songs, rhymes, jingles, use of poems, or even rap.
  3. Bodily or Kinaesthetic. Here, the creativity of the learner is encouraged and used as there is a need for acting and role-playing, creation of tableau or models, simulate and manipulate materials, or develop a mime.
  4. Interpersonal. This is interaction with fellow learners or with the teacher. The individual learner works in a group or required a partner in order to come up with problem solutions, provide output for instructions such as an interview or a survey, discussion about a topic, and cooperation with others.
  5. Naturalist. This method capitalizes on the natural environment, classifies materials or ideas, learns to discover through experiment and observation of a phenomenon, reinvent existing materials to an entirely new use or concept, and make generalizations or conclusions about observed data.
  6. Logical or Mathematical. This process involves the use and observance of patterns, formula, sequence or process, situational analysis, classification, ranking, or comparison of objects as well as interpretation of evidence.
  7. Visual or Spatial. This allows students to use their imagination or existing objects as a guide in order to draw or create a picture, a mural, an event, diagram, or animation, design materials using colors and graphics.
  8. Intrapersonal. This process allows inner analysis and contemplation in order to come up with a plan, write a journal, review and visualize possible actions for a certain situation, reflect on the experience and the past (Mulligan, p 2-4).

All these methods are useful for teachers in most subject areas.

Involving all stakeholders in the learning process

There are various stakeholders in the learning process: the school, the administrators, the community, parents, pupils, and the teacher. In addressing bigger learning process problems, it is best that the teacher involves all stakeholders through an informative and concise communication process. Some communities and schools work together with a calendar of activities that indicate community, parent, and administrative participation in the learning process. This means that aside from the teacher, there is a bigger group that is at stake in the school learning activities. In involving the rest of the stakeholders, the teaching process becomes a group effort such as in the presence of a special or gifted child who may or may not show interest in the classroom setting. By involving the community, which also has its own social and health workers, the problem about the child may be identified, and the solution is sought with the cooperation of the family and the school as a whole. These kinds of teaching problems cannot be handled by the teacher alone so that the cooperation of the whole community is necessitated.

Conclusion

Teaching is a profession that has become as difficult as it is noble. For many, it is a job without material rewards. It has become a calling for most who persevere to become teachers. One teacher I personally know of spends much of her time learning and preparing class modules, teaching aids, and reports long after the regular teaching or its equivalent office hours. I see in her unwavering dedication and life commitment. She has, however, produced a handful of successful yet grateful individuals who always look back and credit her for their achievements. I aspire to become like her.

Our world continues to emerge into a technologically advanced system where relationships are few and far between. It is important that educators promote the development of relationships and teach these interpersonal skills to our youth.

Students today spend the majority of their time texting, emailing, and communicating on Facebook or MySpace.

Many of our youth today lack the interpersonal skills needed to be successful in college or even for a job interview. As a future educator, my goal is to educate the youth of tomorrow to be successful productive citizens. But leaving an imprint with effective and positive influence is as important.

References

  1. Applebee, A., Bangert-Drowns, R., Gamoran, A, Langer, J. & Nystrand, M. “Features of Exemplary Middle and High School Instruction.” National Research Center on English Learning Achievement. 1998.
  2. DuFour, R., Eaker, R. Professional Learning Communities at Work: Best Practices for Enhancing Student Achievement. 1998. Solution Tree.
  3. Kizlik, R. ‘Classroom Management, Management of Student Conduct, Effective Praise Guidelines, and a Few Things to Know About ESOL Thrown in for Good Measure.’
  4. Mulligan, D. ‘Learning and Succeeding in a Caring Environment.’ 2005.

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StudyCorgi. (2021, November 9). Preparing Students for Tomorrow, Caring for Them Today. Retrieved from https://studycorgi.com/preparing-students-for-tomorrow-caring-for-them-today/

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