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Making teachers our superheroes: Reflexion #3

maddybeckmann's picture

I have found that I learn a lot about what is going on in the classroom from the times I spend talking with students outside of the “traditional setting”. In the after school program we have the opportunity to get to know each of the students and in a different way then their teachers. I don’t know the grades of the students I work with, I don’t have to worry about disciplining 30 students while I work with one, and I don’t have to make sure what I am teaching will be memorized for a test. I feel very lucky in this way, but worry about what it will mean for me to be a teacher in the future.

             I remember one of the first weeks of tutoring we were sitting in a circle asking each student what they wanted to be when they grew up. They responded, policemen, singer and doctor. When it was my turn I proudly told the students that I wanted to be a teacher. The comments that followed from the students were not what I anticipated. “why would you want to be that?” “ugh” and “that is a boring job”.  I went on to explain to the students how wonderful a job being a teacher would be and that we are all teachers throughout our life. They were not convinced. I have thought a lot about this event because it had great impact on me.

            This question is one that I find to be important in my quest to be a teacher. How can we make teachers our super heroes? How can we make students feel protected, inspired, motivated and connected? In my eyes of course teachers are super heroes, the ones who fight crime by teaching how to present and argument with words, and show us the ways to put out vocabulary words to our favorite song. The teachers I have loved most have been the ones who spent time getting to know me, coming to my field hockey games, letting me cry in their classroom, sending an email to ask how I am doing and being forever proud of my accomplishments. I believe that teachers are super heroes, but how can we get our students and our society to believe it too? Teachers are more than teachers to their students.

            In my placement, I have learned the value of “informal” events and conversations that happen in the classroom.  These interactions have given a sense of a teacher as a human being in a sense they are “taking off their mask”. In my placement I feel when teaching reading I have an authoritative role and when a student is sad I am a friend, one loses a tooth I am a dentist, and when a student is hungry I am a food provider and when I want to know about a student’s passion I am a student.  We often think of a teacher as purely a figure who stands in front of the classroom and relaying information to her pupils. I have found that the informal conversations are just as important as the formal interactions.  These interactions have allowed students to respect me in a different way.

            I want to teach in a classroom in the future, but I struggle with this aspiration because I am afraid to lose the “informal” interactions that allow students to connect with me. I wonder whether the informal which are less valued in the “school setting” could become as valued as the “formal”.  Let us use what makes a student cry to motivate them. Let us use a story from home to get them writing. Let us use the love for singing as a way to remember our vocabulary words.  There is value here that we often fail to ta into.

            Sometimes in the afterschool program a student is unwilling to really do any work and I feel like I didn’t really help or my time was wasted, but thinking back, I believe that the informal interactions I had with the student made him feel special. These are now the times I value most.


Would these interactions make teachers a super hero in the eyes of their students? I know that many teachers do juggle both types of interactions that I mentioned, but with 30 students can each student receive enough informal interactions? Ho can we value both “informal” and “formal” interactions in learning?