As I was exploring different articles about Teachers as Allies, I found these few jewels.
Mrs. D-B. Her fourth graders wrote a mock news reports on their teacher where they describe how Mrs. D-B acts in the classroom. The students explained different teaching techniques that Mrs. D-B regularly does in her classroom, like Spelling Baseball and Writing Idol. These are interesting techniques that seemed to motivate her students her write and to participate in the learning activity. It was interesting to read the students’ work and see how they describe their teacher. There is so much love and appreciation in the way they write about her because they can tell that she values them.
Marissa McGee. McGee is a kindergarten teacher for 5 year olds, and in this article she explains why it is crucial to be patient with her kids. McGee claims that “character is just as important as academics” where she interacts with the students in a learning manner. She focuses on supporting the students where they are in their learning process and where they are in building character. I think this is extremely important to adjust your learning plans to your students. As it states in the article, it is okay to toss a plan out if it isn’t working for your students. It seems like there is a “feel as you go” mentality where, as a teacher, you really need to see how the students are responding and move with them as they are learning. She also mentions their age – they are five, so she has to constantly be aware of this and understand that they simply don’t know how to behave. As a teacher, we can help guide students with their character as we build up their academics.
Thinking Chess. Basically, Maurice Ashley created a class, called Thinking Chess, where he teaches his students to 1) understand the game of chess and 2) know how to apply its techniques to the real world. Teaching this class has allowed his students to find that persistence matters, finding a passion matters, and that hard work pays off. These are valuable lessons to learn, and it is neat that Ashley did this through the game of chess. It’s an interesting technique as a teacher to bring in a game and place value in that game, but have effective and specific learning points to take from that game.
It’s interesting to see how we as teachers can be allies to our students. I am still learning what “ally” really means, and its difference from being an advocate. So far, I understand that it means we need to support our students and meet them where they’re at. As I teacher, I need to come to them and move with them as they learn. Honestly, this makes sense! I can’t just give them info and expect them to do exactly what it needs and to understand everything – that isn’t teaching. It’s about being a friend, an ally, and a leader for the students. I hope to be an ally to my students, even though I am still learning what that really means. I know that each student will learn at a different pace, but there is a balance between walking with them and reaching an overall goal in the classroom (planning backwards to your goal).
I know I will wobble with that as a teacher because I probably would have the instinct to either wait for them or usher them along. I want my students to feel valued, and to see me as a ally and not an authoritative figure that just bosses them around. I want to have friendly relationships with my students, but I also want them to learn. I know there is a balance, and I have had different teachers practice different techniques in the classroom. I have had the primarily bossy teacher that would be a friend when needed, and I have had the soft teacher that allowed really anything to happen in the classroom, yet was still respected. I honestly have no clue how they exactly managed these different classrooms, but they did. Plus, they were tenured teachers, so they had lots of time to get to a place of pose, even if they wobbled on certain days.
I’m not sure when I will be a teacher. I’m looking at different career/life paths, but I know that these are resources (such as these badges and articles) that I can take with me to learn how to be an ally in every part of my life.