Ruth Ayers of Discover. Play. Build. invites us to share weekly celebrations, big or small, on her blog. This week I am jumping in, celebrating my opportunity to work alongside a preservice teacher! Thanks Ruth for hosting!
As an educator I see my role in the classroom as a learner and a mentor. I see it as my responsibility to know the students and to work with the students in establishing a community where we can flourish and make choices that guide us to new learning and new questions that reflect the interest and values of the members. Knowing the students in our classroom requires us to listen, ask questions and guide in a way that not only allows choice, but in a way that necessities choice.
I am currently working alongside a preservice teacher, Mary Kay, in our first grade classroom. The benefits of having another teacher in the classroom are obvious, but the responsibilities aren't often as clear. I approach this responsibility each day with the knowledge that one day Mary Kay will have a unique classroom of her own, full of diverse learners and a plethora of choices. Mary Kay will need to be reflective in her practice as a teacher and a learner to guide her students in a way that respects their needs and values. She will also need to be reflective in how she builds her educational beliefs and establishes a style unique to herself and true to her beliefs about education.
The challenge to me each day is in explaining those instructional decisions that take us away from our plans and lead us to follow our children and how abandoning the best laid plans makes us better teachers and gives our students more opportunities. After teaching for over 20 years these moves just seem to be a part of who I am and how I teach, but when I am challenged with explaining this I realize just how much intention is behind these seemingly natural diversions.
So today I am celebrating the opportunity to work with Mary Kay and help her to find her way into a classroom that respects student's choices and opens the doors to new opportunities for learning for her and her students. The responsibilities of being a teacher are changing everyday, but if we accept these changes as new opportunities and keep an open mindset our job remains consistent, it's just the how that brings new challenges.
I would love to hear from others who are working alongside preservice teachers! How you are supporting the journey?
Mary Kay is on Twitter @MkGrove12 let's get our preservice teachers connected and started on their own PLN!