This I Believe: Teaching

Mark - Schoolcraft, Michigan
Entered on March 18, 2008

While growing up I had a third grade teacher that taught me how education should be done. He taught me that teaching in a classroom is more than the academics but also values. The following is what he taught me about education, and how I can be an impacting educator.

The first is the motivation the child will receive for learning the academic material. I believe that it is important to make real world connections with the material the student is learning. Making these connections will provide a sense of motivation for the student. My teacher in third grade would apply almost everything we learned to situations we would face outside of the classroom. In adult-hood we are often times rewarded for hard work through a paycheck, raise, etc. This should also be carried over into a classroom setting. As a teacher I would reward students for doing exceptional things by giving them small gifts such as candy, stickers, and extra free time. The catch to this procedure is the student who does something exceptional can not be the one to proclaim what they did. Another peer must be the one to tell the teacher what they did exceptional, and only then will that student be rewarded. This method provides motivation to do well academically and behaviorally, but also teaches the student a lesson in humbleness.

Discipline in a classroom can often times set the mood. I believe in not having any rules in the classroom, but having procedures. The student is told from the beginning that these procedures are simply how things are done. Procedures to students are not seen as something to be broken unlike rules. Procedures are steps in how something works. If a student does break a procedure the student will first be reminded of what the procedures are. If the student continues to not follow the procedure the student will be sat down and talked to in a one on one setting. Often times when students are acting up there is an underlying reason. I believe that having a friendly caring attitude is a key aspect of discipline. The student needs to know that they are cared for and the respect between the teacher and student is a two way street.

In a culture where the divorce rate is at an all time high and many of our students are coming from broken families, I find a unique opportunity. Many of the students in schools today are faced with a false image of what a male role model should be. More importantly then teaching the material to go on to the next grade level I hope to be a positive male role model for all of my students. I hope to show students that the power of kindness is more powerful than any factual concept. My third grade teacher believed it was his duty to produce students of good character, and I believe it is my goal to do the same.