Role of the Teacher The Role of the Teacher has changed


The Role of the Teacher has changed tremendously over the years. It went from the Teacher being all knowing and the boss to facilitator I was painting faces for a birthday party at a school when I first saw the light. The teacher didn´t have a designated desk, she was on the floor doing an activity with a student while other students were working independently or with a small group. The students were engaged and very busy. I felt like I was in the Twilight Zone and I wanted to know more about this phenomenon. I then starting my training where I learned that it is ok for students to work at their own pace and be independent. The trick though was to create a prepared environment where this could take place. The teacher would spend her free time creating this environment by making supplemental materials to go along with the required materials. The teacher would make lesson plans focusing on teaching the whole child. I also learned that giving students opportunities to make choices created an excitement for learning.

The teacher also takes on the role as observer. By observing students objectively, the teacher is able to meet the needs of the students individually. As a teacher we think we can remember everything but we can´t. Once you become accustomed to taking notes daily it becomes second nature. For so long teachers thought that they should give information only through lecturing and reading. As we now know, students will only retain a small amount of the information given in lecture form. Then the teacher would spend the last 15 minutes preaching to why they should be listening. Not only do students have short attention spans but it is now known that they learn sensorially through hands on materials and projects.

Although most of my experience has been with young children, I found that the older students benefitted as well. I once taught a summer school Chemistry class with out knowing much about Chemistry. The funny thing about it is that my students said they learned more than they did the regular school year and I never spent more than 10 minutes lecturing. Infact the 10 minutes were used explaining the new instructional material that I had placed out on the tables. It wasn´t actual lecturing time. I provided the enviroment and they basically taught each other. We used everything from markers, paint, crossword puzzles, etc.

I used the philosophy from my earlier years as a teacher and added classroom management with cooperative learning. Becuase I had spent the time after class preparing the activities, I was able to observe and take notes during class. I admit it can be hard taking away that "Teacher Control" but once you do it and see the benefits it all makes since. I was amazed at the work produced and the little to no discipline problems. It does take experience and training to do and the teacher needs to want to do this style of teaching. So many teachers fight it and want to revert to the old ways.

I also want to talk about respect in the classroom. Respect goes both ways and it is just as important for the teacher to give respect as it is for the teacher to receive it.

Everything that I have mentioned is important but we still need to maintain structure and consistency. Teachers still have to have procedures and routines within the creative classroom. The teacher is literally a jack of all trades.