“A teacher is a compass that activates the magnets of curiosity, knowledge and wisdom in the pupils.” – Ever Garrison

Children, families, teachers and the greater school community are the spokes that keep an educational wheel turning. In my experience as an education major and an employee of the field, I have identified the importance of each spoke. Education cannot keep turning, or being successful, unless all contributors work collaboratively to allow students a positive learning environment. Many variables determine if students are able to learn.

Children are exceptional beings with ready minds and hearts that seek to learn and expand their worlds through exploration and experience. Constructivist theories, such as those proposed by Maria Montessori, Jean Piaget, Jerome Bruner, and many others, speak to the concept of “learning by doing”. These theorists state that students learn best when they experience that which they are expected to learn, understand, and respond to. I agree with many aspects mentioned by these theorists. I will incorporate hands on activities in the classroom, guest speakers on curriculum relevant subjects, and field trips of distinction. Students have minds like sponges that will absorb any and all information provided to them. Students learn best through play and other hands on practices. Students learn based on the social experiences in which they partake and from which they gain meaning.

The children that enter schools come from a variety of cultural backgrounds and family circumstances. It is essential for educators to recognize, respect, and incorporate these aspects of students’ upbringing into the classroom environment. Once we acknowledge these students’ home lives, we enable ourselves to provide for these students’ needs. Families, which come in many forms, are the educational foundation for the children who enter the classroom. It is important to acknowledge how essential family involvement is to the student success.  I will incorporate families’ assets into the classroom through family reading days, field days, and other ways that we collaboratively identify as beneficial to students’ learning.

Instruction must be developmentally appropriate for each student. Standards must be used as guidelines and additional materials used as resources. Each classroom is different and each student is different. In order to meet student needs we must address where we expect students to be developmentally as well as academically, then curriculum instruction must be tailored to each student for developmentally appropriate practice. As educators, it is necessary to set high expectations for students and make those expectations known. I will have set expectations of my students and incorporate visual strategies for the students to self-monitor and self-regulate their performance (academically, behaviorally, etc.). Students are more likely to reach milestones when they know it is expected of them and when they know they are supported through the process.

Educators are required to be many things to many people at once. Educators must be a teacher to the student. Educators must be a guide to the student. Educators must also be colleague to other educators. And moreover, educators must set an example for being a life-long learner. Educators must always be seeking new content knowledge, new strategies, new experiences, and other opportunities that can increase professional development. Educators hold an important role in the lives of many, and therefore must always seek to increase their competence, experience and social justice in ways that are beneficial for students, families, colleagues, and the greater school community.