My authentic teaching self

I’m a former high school teacher and over the years have learned a lot about my teaching self. I don’t think that I ever compared myself to other teachers that I was taught by but instead focused on how to teach the content in an effective way while also managing classroom behavior. Even with the most engaging class activities that are rooted in the various philosophies and theories of education, I still found myself having to address behavior or react to classroom visitor such as an administrator. Teaching is pretty demanding and there are a lot of factors beyond teaching the content. There is engaging with students, considering their lives and the things they go through, testing, lesson planning, content development and delivery, professional development,  and other various tasks. To balance all of the demands, I needed to be organized and task-oriented. This did not always work and some days I found myself completely overwhelmed and exhausted.

When it came to my students, I would try to be open and transparent with them. I would allow them to come up with ideas for assignments and projects, we would invite in class speakers, go on field trips, watch movies, and sometimes just sit and discuss different things. I focused on their learning but also other areas such as career skills and post-secondary education.

My teaching has now transitioned from high school to undergraduate students. The parameters are a little different and there is a different level of expectation that is present. With my students that I teach now, I ground myself on being task-oriented and organized, helpful, understanding, firm but also flexible. I especially have to be task-oriented and organized because I am also a Ph.D. student with other life demands. I also try to be helpful and understanding because I know that the students have their different demands but we all have to have reasonable expectations. I have to be firm on assignment expectations, deadlines, and class objectives. But even while being firm, I allow some flexibility depending on need and how I see fit. I don’t try to be like any other teacher, I am myself in the classroom because it’s too tiring to do otherwise.

5 Replies to “My authentic teaching self”

  1. It really is a balancing act isn’t it?! It definitely seems like you have a lot of insight into what all goes into teaching and learning. And I totally agree that some days are better than others for sure. One thing I think that stood out to me in the readings and also your post was the fact that you can’t always expect to be successful with a lesson plan – one has to be open to feedback from things that don’t work…101 ways to NOT teach a class or something like that and then slowly we are able to figure how to teach and how that aligns with our own selves.

  2. I like that you brought up classroom distractions. I think it is really hard for grade school teachers to get the teaching content across because they have other things to worry about, like home life of the students or classroom distractions. I admire that you have so much teaching experience!

  3. Brittany, You brought up some good points in your post. I agree to be clear with students and have them incorporated in class activities are important issues. This not only gives us unique opportunities to learn from them, but also encourage the them to get involved and participate for their course as well. Thanks.

  4. Thanks for your post. First, I really liked the fact that you are trying to be yourself not anyone else, and you have your own teaching style. Second, I liked that you mentioned trying to create a balance between being firm and flexible. Although, I found it a bit challenging in my personal teaching experiences.

  5. I appreciate your insights as an educator with far more experience than someone like me. For example, the point that you make in your post about how students’ personal lives comes as a factor in the learning environment is so true and so important. I think I have to challenge my perception that a classroom is a stage and all a teacher has to do is perfect the teaching.

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