Ok. I'm being interviewed by a lady at church for a class she's taking. In fact, I think it's the same exact interview I had to conduct for the exact same class she's taking. But it's still nice to be interviewed.
The questions really help me to reflect a great deal on my first year in the classroom. In fact, they may be just what I've needed to get myself out of the dreamy summertime blues I've been experiencing lately. I've got until Saturday to answer seven questions. So, here's the first:
What have been your greatest successes as a teacher?
My own successes as a teacher are made up of my students’ successes in academics, critical thinking, and social skills. Before I ever taught, I asked my church and family to pray with me that I would be placed where God wanted me to be. I am happy to say that our prayers were most definitely answered. I have watched students of limited English proficiency gain award-winning reading skills. I have seen older students who were taught racism embrace peers of all cultures. I have watched students who felt unloved blossom into happy, confident individuals. Knowing that my actions and words played a major role in their success is more precious than any bonus or recognition offered by the school board.
What are the greatest challenges to you as a teacher? How do you handle these challenges?
My greatest challenge as a teacher is separating my heart from my head. Sometimes, a student may behave poorly in class due to a myriad of troubles experienced at home. When I am aware of home issues that are likely to impact a student, it’s difficult for me to remain focused solely on academics when another dimension of the student is so much in need. I handle this kind of challenge by incorporating individual needs of each student in my instruction. Providing reading selections that deal with an individual student’s situations, providing a choice of response activities in which students can express their feelings without judgment, and even providing a listening ear during planning time are ways that I have addressed this situation.