Teachers Never Stop Learning
If I have learned anything during the last year, it is the incredible resilience students are capable of when the occasion calls for it. To have your life turned upside down at the age of 7 and continue to challenge yourself on a daily basis is one thing, to do so with a smile on your face is something most fully grown adults have struggled to achieve.
The long-term effects of Covid-19 in education is something that crosses my mind on a daily basis. Aside from the impact on social interactions, the disruption to daily routines, in my opinion, will have long lasting effects that we cannot possibly predict. However, I do suspect that there are some potentially positive effects; mainly seen in higher levels of independence, development of technology skills and the increased resourcefulness of our students. This year, students have been challenged in ways that very few, if any, students have been challenged before. I believe teachers have the opportunity to guide students to focus on what they have learned from this year rather than what they have lost.
The challenges of the last year have led to a great deal of self-reflection on why I teach and how can I keep moving forward in order to provide the best levels of education for my students. For me the answer is the same; passion. Teaching is more than a career to me. It’s a passion, a calling and a journey. I don’t believe anybody ever stops learning, and where better to learn than a classroom-even if you are the teacher! I learn something new from my students at least once a week, allowing for inspirational discussions and an electric atmosphere in our online sessions. Being an educator runs a lot deeper than the training we have received, it’s who we are. I do believe ‘teacher burn-out’ is something that has been brought to everyone’s attention this year. Working with students requires patience, understanding and love. Some days, even that isn’t enough. Some Thursday afternoons we may leave the classroom convinced that any other career would be a better choice. However, a true teacher will always arrive back into class first thing Sunday morning ready to take on the challenges of another week with a smile.
This leads me to my final point on what makes an outstanding teacher. While all teachers will naturally work to their own strengths, I believe two main characteristics are the mark of an outstanding teacher: honesty and a creative mind.
I believe in honesty and transparency on all levels in a classroom. Teachers should always model the behavior they expect from their students, including; admitting mistakes, asking for help and connecting with your students on a personal level. This has never been more important than in today’s educational environment of online activities, emails and zoom sessions. My students have always been very receptive when we discuss the importance of honesty and it is a core element of my classroom management style.
Having a creative mind allows teachers to be flexible and imaginative. Creating exciting, student-led lessons that allow for differentiation for all learning styles and ability levels.
“Kids don’t learn from people they don’t like”-Rita Pierson.
This quote inspires me and reminds me of my responsibility to my students. I always endeavor to create a lifelong love of learning in my students and encourage them to take pride in all of their accomplishments, whatever those accomplishments may be.
“Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn” - Benjamin Franklin
Voice of Neill Power
Reading and Writing have always been two of Neill’s greatest passions in life. His mother instilled a love of reading at an early age, and life experiences have given him a love of expressing himself through writing. His aim is to inspire his students and lead by example.