Teacher Response

Dianne - Grand Rapids, Michigan
Entered on June 6, 2007
Age Group: 50 - 65

America, our country, filled with opportunity, dreams come true, and choice like no other place in the world. I believe life can take you to wherever you set your goals. Education is the ticket to success. Once a person enriches their mind no one can take that away. As I begin my sixties, I continue to live this belief and seek knowledge. But, I wonder…. How will the children I see in our educational settings be enabled to live their dreams?

Today, our society has fewer middle class, lower socio economic status, diversified nationalities, and complex disabilities. To add to our nation’s diverse educational population are a multitude of languages. It would seem hope for children in these diverse groups might be diminishing compared to upper middle class white families. So, how can diversity become our strength rather than our weakness?

I believe it is teachers; teachers with positive dispositions. Teachers guide youth in seeing America as a land of opportunity. Children who face barriers, like prejudice, lower socioeconomic status or disabilities, will overcome their challenges when guided to search for their self worth as individuals. An important contributing factor is how teachers respond to students. Positive teacher dispositions is much more than saying “good job” or giving a thumbs up; it is listening and responding to the child’s emotional or academic needs. Empowering children is valuing their ideas and responding to their curiosities. Positive dispositions should not be reserved for minority or less advantaged children. All children need recognition. Adult perceptions of students’ needs are not always on target. It is a difficult task determining who a child is by looking at the outside, and not knowing what’s in the inside.

Positive teacher dispositions are one contributing factor to society’s pool of citizens. Our job is to guide, nurture and model social constructs. Through this process students develop a system of values and beliefs based on their family backgrounds, cultural ties and community membership. Following this line of thinking is one huge step for humanity.

Commitment to our youth is a good investment. Our students are our future. It only takes a few minutes more to listen, make eye contact with positive body language and a smile. This says “I care.”

How has the American educator taken on this significant role in guiding students in finding meaning within their lives? America is global. Positive teacher dispositions address our diverse population of students’ needs. Our kids today need best teaching practices, empathy, sincerity, and cultural understanding in order for them to make meaning of our diverse country and world.