I have always wanted to be a teacher even when I didn’t realise how many hours teachers put in behind-the-scenes or how much mental effort it requires. For the past 5 years I have barely kept my head above water trying to become a good and effective teacher who motivates students to learn. It has only been the last few months, when I realised that I need to be a passionate learner, that my teaching has started to reflect what I want in a classroom.
I want my classrooms to be a place where my students want to learn. More importantly I want to have a Learning Environment (LE) where I learn from my students. It is important that students have a voice in the classroom because that involves them in their own learning- they start to take ownership of their learning. Yes we do have a curriculum to follow but instead of us dictating how the students learn about a particular topic, they need to be handed the reigns. Teaching students using one method creates a divide in the classroom. The reason for this is that not everyone learns in the same way and at the same pace. There needs to be an element of inquiry-based learning where students learn about the curriculum topic in the way they choose to do so. If students are given a voice as to how they want to learn, then truly can teachers help them personalise their own learning. This is what I am striving to achieve in my classroom. I want them to question what they are learning and how they learn. I want my classroom to be engaging and for the learning to continue even after they have left the room.
This will not happen within a day. This will require me to continue to push the boundaries of the traditional classroom until I can achieve what I want in my own classroom. I don’t want students to be confined behind their desks in a traditional setting like I experienced. I don’t want to preach to them and expect them to regurgitate everything I tell them as I had to do when I was in school. I want them to develop a passion for life long learning. I will also need to continue my own learning so that I can show students that learning doesn’t stop once you finish school. That is what I thought once I got through university- that I would never “study” again because I wasn’t in love with learning. Now I love learning but I didn’t have to go into a classroom to learn. I learn in my own time, my own space and about topics that truly interest me. Today I do most of my learning via Twitter where conversations take place on #satchatoc about “Creating Passionate Learning Environments” that challenge me to reflect on what happens in my classroom.
Image created by Kathy Schrock