Some might say being a teacher is a breeze.
Teachers only work 6 hour days, no weekends and get plenty of holiday time, who wouldn’t want that?
But being a teacher doesn’t mean 9am starts or end at the ringing of the school bell. Teachers don’t just ‘turn up’ to class, talk till the students fall asleep, then move on.
Being an effective teacher takes dedication, year long strategising, endless class preparations… and let’s not forget a lifetime spent in school themselves.
For me, memories as a primary school student involved; sitting at neatly aligned tables which faced the teacher at the front of the class. The teacher would (in the most monotone voice possible) talk to text in books, had us write and recite paragraphs and asked the odd question to see if we were awake.
So unless it was a subject I was already interested in, most of the time I was left uninspired.
Today was different
I had the privilege of seeing Pocket Sight Words in action by a school with amazing kindergarten teachers and parent helpers.
Pleasantly surprised at how unconventional and ‘un-class like‘ it was, students scattered into smaller intra-groups of ‘like-leveled‘ readers.
Once in their cutely named groups (Giggly Giraffes, Buzzy Bees and Sensational Sea-stars etc), students rotated through literacy based activities within ‘Kinderland‘. Specifically designed to encourage different areas of literacy development, some of the activities included:
- Creative Writing using mini whiteboards
- Sight Words (yes, using our very own Pocket Sight Words program – ok shameless plug over),
- quiet reading time under the large make-shift tree in the Reading Garden
- drawing activities to encourage visual expression of written words
- Reading Time with various teachers and parent helpers (for broader reading exposure); and
- Reading Recovery for those needing a little extra support.
This simple, yet clever approach allows students to be taught to their skill level (and not just to the class’ highest or lowest performing students).
The advancement of teaching styles
I’m totally impressed by the school’s ability to create to a more ‘student based‘ teaching approach. I saw kindergarten classes more like a centre of fun AND learning, rather than a classroom.
In this learning environment, no teacher had to yell. The gentle ring of a small metal bell and the students knew immediately to place hands on their heads and remain quiet immediately to be quiet.
Here, the focus was teaching the student and not the subject. The classroom was just buzzing with activity and excitement.
I was in awe…
A new found appreciation of today’s school teacher
At first glance, one could mistake the hyper, fast paced environment as almost chaotic. And for a newbie like me, it did have me in a tailspin early on.
But soon, it became apparent just how well organised things were and how dedicated each teacher was. I saw them laugh and talk with (and not at) the students. They were kind (even in sternness when needed), happy and about as energetic as the students themselves.
It was easy to sense the teachers found teaching in this environment rewarding. And if this is the calibre of teaching in today’s schools, I can only look forward to a bright future for tomorrow’s leaders.
“It is the supreme art of a teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge.”Albert Einstein
So, this is my personal shout-out to the teachers out there who work so much harder than they’re credited for, who teach for the love of it and who work tirelessly with our children.
You guys are truly amazing!
Do you know some amazing teachers too? Share and Tag a teacher to show your thanks and appreciation of them.