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A Teacherís Role: How Has It Changed?
The role of a teacher comes with many
responsibilities. Students often look up to teachers as role models, someone
with knowledge who they can trust. Like every job, at times being a teacher can
also be tiresome, overwhelming and challenging. Teachers have to find new and
creative ways of engaging students and in their lifetime as a teacher their
approaches may have to evolve to accommodate a changing community of students.
Most new teachers learn how to approach students and engage students through their fieldwork and by examining teachers during their practice. According to Miss Laura, who is a young elementary school teacher, learning how to teach just comes naturally along with the techniques learned through her studies. She does have to adapt her teaching style with her class every year.
As the school year begins, she takes the time to understand her studentsí behaviors and learning styles and then she does some research on how to best approach them. ďEvery year has been different for me. I didnít create new teaching techniques, but I did more research on what techniques would work best with my given group,Ē explains Miss Laura. Some examples Miss Laura uses include using ClassDojo (an online behavioral system), Google Classroom (students can type and view assignments and share it directly with their teachers), IXL Math (reinforcement of Math concepts covered in class), Raz Kids (reading fluency and comprehension for at home/school practice), and GoNoodle (movement exercises during the day to help with focus and anxiety).
Due to research and awareness, parents and teachers are working together to work with and adapt to children with behavioral issues in a school setting. Teachers have to adapt their teaching techniques to accommodate students with learning disorders and behavioral issues. In the past, teachers were mainly concerned with academic progress. Children with special needs can be integrated in a normal classroom setting. Some are not required to be in a ďspecial needs classĒ.
In todayís classroom, there can be students diagnosed with ADD, ADHD, Autism, Dyslexia and Dysgraphia, memory retention deficiencies, hearing loss, gross and fine motor difficulties all in the same group. More and more IEPs (Individualized Education Plans) are being developed to help students with special needs succeed academically.
Miss Nathalie, an experienced elementary school teacher with almost 20 years of experience has evolved throughout her years of practice. She learned how to adapt her teaching style to accommodate students with IEPs and also uses technology quite frequently. ďHandling behavioral issues can become stressful. Building a relationship with the student is essential,Ē she says. ďEvery morning I start my day with my behavioral students by telling them, I believe in you! You are very smart! We are going to have a great day!" They have backgrounds that already are stressful; I try to create an environment where they are calm, appreciated and valued. I always treat them in a way that shows care and when they do act up, I tell them how I feel seeing them like that.Ē
Miss Nathalie says that her approach is about communication and trust. ďI also give them a lot of responsibilities for them to leave the room when I feel they can handle it. A bicycle station and stand up desk are very helpful as they can move and release energy that way,Ē she explains.
Being a teacher also requires a passion for learning and teaching, empathy and adaptability to handle any situation. Although a teacherís role is evolving, one constant remains, and that is to engage students and to fill their minds with knowledge. In the wise words of Benjamin Franklin, ďTell me and I forget. Teach me and I learn. Involve me and I remember.Ē
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