Becoming a teacher has always been a dream of mine and it is still mind boggling that I am going to graduate with a MSED in childhood education through the MATH-UP program. But I have come to realize that just because you have a Master’s degree does not necessarily mean you are a Master teacher. Yes, it’s true that through the Master’s program, we are building the foundation needed to be able to teach children, but it is a totally different ball game when you are actually in front of a class of 20 little people eyes beaming in on your scared and nervous look. Statistics show that it takes at least 5 years for you to become a Master teacher. There are so many skills, information, techniques, programs, etc, that one needs to know in order to better assist their students.
For this reason of being scared of being thrown into a classroom alone to teach a group of children of different learning needs for 10 months is why I am glad I am in MATH-UP. Can you imagine walking into a class your first year and having the students smell your nervousness? Well it can and I must say it will happen, even for me. Through the MATH-UP program clinical residency, I have been teaching a bilingual class of 13 students for the past 6 months. Throughout these past 6 months, the most important thing that a teacher should practice and work on throughout the whole year is CLASSROOM MANAGEMENT. Without proper behavior in the classroom and without control, the teacher will be lost. When the students see a teacher break down because he/she has no control, there is not one ounce of possibility that the teacher will be able to get through a lesson. Unfortunately, this happened to me this past week. During one of my formal observation lessons, the students were calling out without raising their hands. It really made me think that it is important for me to follow through with classroom management strategies. It may have also been because the lesson wasn’t as hands-on or engaging for the students. There are many factors that could have been changed in my lesson for the students in order to have proper classroom control. What is important that all teachers note here is that I am reflecting on my teaching.
REFLECTION! It is a teacher’s best friend. You can reflect on your teaching and learn to make it better. You can also reflect on the students and ask yourself, “Was the objective met?” Did the students learn?” These are very important because it can help you make your future lessons better and it can lead to a class that is engaged in the lesson lowering the risk for misbehavior. I have learned throughout this program that even though a child may be acting up in class, it does not mean that he/she is a bad student. It means that he/she is yearning for attention. When a student’s mind is busy with work they no longer have time or space to think of misbehaving.
Teachers also need a lot of patience. I am proud to say that one of my qualities is that I have plenty of patience. For example, if you have a student in your third grade class on a kindergarten reading level, you MUST have patience in giving that student the attention necessary to increase their reading skills to the appropriate level. It does not happen overnight. This is something that I have been witnessing in my classroom as well as the whole school that I interning in. You will have a class full of children that are all on different levels academically. As teachers we need to be able to differentiate instruction for each child so that they are able to get the equity of learning that is granted to all children.
For me, I believe the hardest part is getting to know the children. When you walk into your classroom, the first couple of weeks are amazing. You start to see who each child is and what they like/dislike and where they are academically. Once you reach the stage of them writing in their writer’s notebook or creating a personal relationship with each child and they start to get comfortable, that is where it gets tough. Every child is different and has a different life story to share. As teachers we need to take into consideration the things that may affect a child’s academic achievements outside the classroom. Although we need to be sensitive to these issues, we can’t internalize them. Our main goal as teachers is to impart knowledge to these children in the best way we can. If we retain all this information and take it to heart every day, we will not be the best teachers we can be and we will stress too much. We are here for a purpose and that is to provide an education for our future leaders through positive attention and discipline.