For The Love of Teaching

I am a teacher and yet I am also a student. That is, a student of life – I learn from life experiences. Technically though, I am a student.

I was advised to take a penalty course alongside my thesis for overstaying in the university where I am taking my graduate study. We have the privilege to choose which subject are we going to take and I opted Art Education being a lover of arts in all medium – visual, dance, language, music, etc.

We haven’t met our professor yet but when I saw our course syllabus, I smiled and thought, “I like this professor.”  Not that there are professors that I don’t like because honestly, I loved them all even though back in college I had harsh experiences with some of them. I love them for the sake that without them I won’t be where I am now and I won’t be who I am now. I appreciate what they teach may it be in a terrifying or encouraging manner. It doesn’t make any difference at all anyhow – the important thing is I have learned. But if I am to choose though, I’d still want to be a teacher who uses positive reinforcement. 🙂

Going back to Art Education, you might have wondered what made me assume that I am going to like my professor. It is because of this, the one which I encircled in red. It may sound simple enough but we share the same advocacy:

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Amazing our God, isn’t He? He not only gave me the course I wanted, but even more than that. It is always hitting two birds with one stone when God does His ways. I can only hope and pray though that more educators will become like my professor – teaching how to set the limit and the balance in preserving and conserving the natural in the midst of the ever developing modernity through man-made technologies.

I saw myself in my professor. I was given the opportunity 3 years back to teach Grade 3 and 4 pupils in a private school as their sub teacher in English. I have always loved reading and writing even when I was a kid. Why reading? It enhances critical thinking skills and improves vocabulary, creativity, and imagination. Why writing? This is the avenue to use the vocabulary learned while reading so it would be stored up in the memory bank.

I wanted to gauge the students’ English vocabulary so I gave them an activity which will test their visual learning and writing abilities. In a sheet of bond paper, I printed various photos of different kinds. I asked them to write their answers at the back of the bond paper to encourage recycling. They are to write a paragraph of at least 5 sentences wherein they will make a story out of all the photos coming up with one coherent essay. In short, they have to connect each photo with the other to come up with a story line.

I advised that the mode of writing is freestyle meaning they do not have to follow any criteria other than what I have instructed above. I personally love learning outside the box so I am in favor of social and experiential learning wherein learning is not just limited inside the classroom nor textbooks. I tend to miss out a lot of details in the instructions when I was a student so I know how it feels for a student to strictly adhere to teacher’s instructions and guidelines. *wink*

When it was time for the worksheets to be submitted, I couldn’t contain my excitement to read all their works. I was expecting I’d be seeing really fascinating stories knowing that children of today’s generation are more cognitively advanced than the generation my age. My expectations were all met – I found myself laughing out loud with all their brilliant ideas. That is, when you let kids be kids. *smiles*

Most of the kids had fun doing the activity even for those who were kinesthetic learners and opted to add more to the illustrations in relaying their stories or those who preferred to share them verbally just because they learn best when there is physical activity or movement. Now for this latter, this is a challenge since in teaching, there is no “one size fits all”  medium of instruction. Lesson plans and activities have to be prepared and presented in a manner that will meet the needs of most students regardless how diversified they may be and depending upon their learning styles. Not to mention the values and discipline that they have to acquire in class.

This may sound too challenging to a teacher and even more challenging if you are to teach in a public school (my next article). BUT if the passion for teaching is there, the greatest reward is nothing more and nothing else but to impart knowledge. 🙂

P.S.

Sharing some of my former Grade 3 students’ works:

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