By Teachers, For Teachers
I always knew I wanted to be a teacher. Not just any teacher, a cool teacher. The kind of teacher that kids would go home and tell their parents about. The kind of teacher that made kids WANT to come to school. The talked about teacher. The unforgettable teacher.
I started thinking about the type of teachers I had growing up. Don't get me wrong they were great teachers and I learned a lot from them, but they were “normal” in their teaching styles, and their classes were not stimulating and often boring.
The material was taught using rote memory and the lectures, well….many reminded me of the teacher from Ferris Bueller's Day Off, very dry and monotone. The lessons were taught, assignments given, grades received. Done! No creativity, no discussions, no debate. Cut and dry.
Modeling My Past Teachers
The first year or so of teaching, I tried to model myself from the teachers I had learned from, teachers/philosophers studied, and those I knew to be successful. I worked hard molding myself into their methods of teaching, but something was missing. The excitement of teaching and experiencing what I call the “light bulb moments”, when my students grasp a specific concept was nowhere to be found.
I knew then, I didn't fit into the mold of the “normal teacher”. I needed to step out of the conventional “teacher box”, be true to myself, and allow my creativity to take over. I needed to see learning from the view of my students. Put myself in their shoes, so to speak. So I did.
Embracing My True Teacher
While other teachers were insisting on students remaining in the their seats during instructional learning, I had students moving all over the room- marching around desks as they chanted the “Gettysburg Address”, clapping to the rhythm of multiplication tables, and dancing their way through action verbs. Students talked freely in the classroom during seat work, which led to amazing class discussions but may have appeared to some as unstructured or undisciplined.
Laughter could be heard as I added “voice overs” to a history lesson, or pretended to be a mad scientist in search of the missing element. I hid “bits of knowledge” inside a small treasure chest and created a treasure map of vocabulary and other activities that would lead to the opening of this box. The classroom was bursting with light as students were becoming challenged and “light bulb moments” were happening on a daily basis.
The students and I were “high fiving” when a test score reached a personal goal, parents were involved, my supervisors were happy, and I had discovered I was a cool teacher. Not because I did “cool” things, but because I was true to myself and I followed my own heart. My lessons were fun and memorable, and thus, so was I.
All educators want their students to learn and be successful in school. I will explore the ways to take the dullest subject matter and transform it into a fun, interactive lesson that your students will not only learn but retain.
Together we can reach out to these children and make learning, what it can and should be- FUN!
How do you embrace your true teacher self? Share in the comments section!