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.