Teaching Style


The best kind of teacher is the kind that takes the time to truly connect with his or her students, the kind that sees teaching as not just a job or an occupation, but a chance to influence the lives of children. At Dandelion, I’ve discovered that there are quite a few of these teachers. They are very involved with their students, and their students ultimately respect and admire them.

When I first got to Dandelion, I’d never really taught before. I’d tutored, sure, but tutoring one-on-one honestly had nothing on being parked in front of a classroom of more than 30 children. I was pretty much lost. So I observed. I watched the way the other teachers taught, particularly my homeroom teacher, and I was surprised when she told me that this was her first job.

Once upon a time, she said, at the beginning of her time here, she’d been lost. She’d been given a group of kids and was appointed their homeroom teacher. She’d had no idea what to do. That group hadn’t been quite so obedient and cooperative, she told me with a laugh. Skills, it seems, develop over time. So it’s okay if maybe I’m not able to teach in the most effective manner within the first week, or the second, or even the third. Each person has his or her own learning curve.

The best ways to improve my teaching, I figured out, were experience, observation, and feedback. I’d never been all too good at taking criticism, but I learned quickly that it was necessary and helpful. The more feedback I received, the more I knew what was helping the students to learn and what wasn’t.

The students here have the same homeroom teacher all 3 years, which in my opinion can be really helpful, since it allows students to get used to their teacher’s style. I’ve only been here for less than 2 weeks, but I feel as though I’m getting to know my teacher’s style already. She truly wants her students to understand and grasp the material rather than just being able to memorize and answer the questions.

Sometimes it’s hard to get to know teachers, though. As any teacher is aware, I’m sure, teachers have a lot on their plate – lesson planning, grading, tutoring, and more. Even as a volunteer at the school, not an actual teacher, I feel like I’m busier than I’ve been in ages. That doesn’t leave too much time for casual conversations.

I still am convinced, though, that human relationships are among the most important things on this earth. Therefore, I’m determined to take the time to get to know my teacher along with all of the other teachers at this school. Maybe it hasn’t happened quite so much as I would like in the course of these 2 weeks. But, well, I’ve still got 8 more weeks to go, and who knows what could happen?


One Comment Add yours

  1. Christine says:

    I’m so impressed that many of you on this trip realized quickly that, despite the stated goals of this project, you focus on the importance of connecting with those with whom you are working. And, how wonderful that you take the time to sit back, absorb, and adapt first!


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