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Friday, November 13, 2015

Becoming an Open-Minded Teacher

It has been a while since I have written a 'teachery-post'.  This week I had an interesting and very helpful meeting with a current teacher in the publish school system.  She taught me so much in the short amount of time we had coffee.

I came to realize that I have a very narrow view of teaching.  

You see, I began to teach in a very traditional school system.  Straight out of Teacher's College I received a full-time position in a Grade 2 classroom in a strict, traditional school.  There were many things about this school system that I disagreed with...as I think will be the case in any school system.  But in reality, I was most comfortable there because of the traditional system.  It is what I grew up in and it is what I know best.  I also believe the traditional system of worksheets, sitting quietly and properly in your desk to work, teacher-led classrooms, etc. have a lot of good to them.  They obviously were used for so many years for a reason - they work.



Though, just because a system works does not mean it works the best.  I don't know what system works the best and I am not here to tell you what I think on the matter.  These thoughts have come up to me this week because of a meeting I had with a Kindergarten teacher in the public system.  She told me all about Inquiry-based learning and how it was working for her.  I had, had already an idea about this type of classroom but had not discussed it with someone who was putting it into practice.  My first thoughts were that this system is crazy and is not teaching children properly.  (Yes, I can be very judgmental initially.)  As she informed me more and more of the system and of how it was taking place, I questioned a lot of what she said.  She agreed that the system is not perfect (what system is anyway?)  but she ensured me that it was leaning in the right direction.  After a discussion about this I began to see a bit more of how it could work and my closed, judgmental mind opened a tad.

I began to realize that I was judging this teaching plan so strongly simply because of my lack of experience and my lack of knowledge on the subject.  An open-mind is one that is willing to learn about new strategies, give them a try, and see the good amidst the parts that need work.  How important this is for teachers!  In order to learn and grow as a teacher (and probably in most if not all professions) this is the only way.  In this way we can work together as a community of teachers, we can see how others are working in the best way they know how, and we can simply learn so much more.  Our judgmental and closed views keep us in the same position we have always been in and never allow us to grow from that, therefore possibly not giving our students the best learning environment they could be in.

This can apply to so many more things than simply teaching.  Something, perhaps we all need to think about it in our everyday living as well.  It is so easy to think that we know it best, we have the right answers, and the other person's way is simply wrong or not as good.  How prideful we can be.  Let us humble ourselves by learning from each other.

Leaning on each other as a community, learning from each other, and seeing the good in various methods reaps such great benefits and is more than worth it to open ourselves up to.  


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