10/14/11

Finding Your Voice in the Classroom

Every teacher has their own style and pedagogical techniques. WorldTeach certainly provides you with teacher training and support before and during your term of service, but as Mitch, a WorldTeach American Samoa volunteer, discovered, sometimes you just have to make your own path.


I have certainly settled into a comfort level with teaching, but I wouldn't go so far as to say that things have become routine, because every week is sprinkled with some degree of surprise. My classes are all going well, and I am gaining confidence in my ability to connect with my students. My lessons are becoming more fluid from one day to the next, and I am at a point where my lesson plan serves as merely a guided outline.  I often review in the morning before class to orient myself, and then simply dive in to a lesson. I once had a professor who told me that when presenting, I should speak "as though I were chatting with someone over a beer", and while I certainly do not condone underage drinking, I have, for the most part, dropped the "teacher talk" and I do my best to use comfortable language. Those of you who know me well can attest that I have a propensity to pontificate, but when I'm with my kids I know that the best way to connect with them is to talk at their level. As a teacher, I have learned first-hand that my job is not to be a preacher, but rather to be a cheerleader, a facilitator and a role model all at once. I believe that great teachers do not teach from the top-down, but rather from the bottom-up; in other words I believe that great teachers do not try to impose a rigid learning style on their students, but rather focus their efforts on trying to tailor any lessons to the strengths and needs of the students. While that may sound like common sense, believe me when I say that it is quite easy to fall into a teaching routine that takes the former approach as opposed to the latter, and I am making a serious effort to do as much as I can to tailor my lessons to my students. 


Do you have a voice the world should hear? Consider becoming a WorldTeach volunteer! Click here for more information.

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