I am a teacher. I have been a professional elementary school teacher since 1981. Throughout the course of my career, I have been involved in many activities both in and out of the classroom. My primary responsibility is to teach the students that have been assigned to me; however, I feel a teacher’s responsibility extends beyond the classroom. Besides teaching my students, I am involved with parents, other teachers, administrators, community members, and college professors. By broadening my horizons, I can be the best teacher possible.
To be the best teacher possible, I believe I need to address all of the state expectations in a safe, nurturing environment. My students need to learn to read, write, use numbers, and gain information in science, and social studies. All of these skills are taught under an umbrella of love and care. In my classroom, students learn in a physically and emotionally safe environment. Learning is risky business; therefore, students first need to feel safe so that they can then take a risk and try to achieve the teacher’s expectations. When I say “students”, I mean all students. A public school teacher teaches everyone who walks through the door. A teacher needs to determine each of these student’s strengths and weaknesses and help each student grow and use a variety of approaches to facilitate learning. A classroom rich in activities that incorporate music, art, movement, and literature makes learning exciting, never humdrum or boring. A teacher is creating lifelong learners.
I believe a teacher includes parents and caregivers in the student’s learning. A consistent effort has to be made to keep in contact with the student’s home. Only when the school and home work together will a student achieve his or her full potential. What better common ground for parents and teachers to discuss, but the treasure which is the child.
I believe a teacher needs to work as a member of a team. A teacher needs to find other professionals with whom to discuss student issues and curriculum issues. Teaching is a creative venture. Sharing ideas enriches ideas.
I believe a teacher needs to work to improve the school community. One way to do this is by joining the teacher’s association. Becoming an active member is a necessary part of the school system. As a member of your association, you work to advance your profession. You also work to give back to your community with donations to scholarship funds and public relations programs. Another way to improve the school community is by serving on a school-sponsored committee. Teachers need to work with administrators to improve the curriculum, improve communications, or to develop special programs. All of these activities help a teacher see the bigger picture and fit his or her class into the puzzle which is the community. Another way a teacher can improve the school community is by submitting letters to the editor or student work to the local newspaper. A teacher can not work in isolation. A teacher needs to let the community know what is happening in the school. After all, the school is an integral part of the community it serves.
I believe a teacher needs to continue to grow as a professional by taking courses and workshops. Not only do these programs keep teachers abreast of new developments in the field of education, they energize a teacher by allowing them to develop relationships with experts in the field. Finding a mentor one can emulate is rewarding for everyone involved.
I believe a teacher’s job is not easy or simple. I believe it is the most important work on earth.