It’s time to post another completed school assignment! My current education course is Learning Theories and Portfolio Development, which has been very challenging but rewarding so far. For this assignment I was supposed to write an essay touching on all the different relationships that I will encounter as a teacher and the practical ways that I will cultivate and develop those relationship. I was also asked to include a segment on how I will be a light for Christ in my future school. I received a grade of 100% for this assignment.
Are there any teachers reading this essay? I would really enjoy hearing your comments and expert advice on this topic–feel free to add them below. Not a teacher? Still feel free to share your thoughts.
The Bigger Picture
As a teacher there will be a lot for me to keep track of—lesson plans, checklists, meetings, paperwork, and more. It can be easy to begin to feel overwhelmed, but I also try to keep the bigger picture in mind. The relationships I build in my school will be my highest priority. As a teacher, there are many ways that I can cultivate and maintain relationships with my students, students’ parents, employers, and colleagues. Most important, by maintaining and cultivating a relationship with Jesus, I can shine His light into all other relationships.
Time is the most important factor for cultivating and maintaining relationships with students. First I will take the time to learn and remember my students’ names, their interests, and their personalities as quickly as possible. I can then “adjust [my] instruction to their needs and interests” (Kauchak & Eggen, 2014, p. 433). I plan to maintain the relationships my students by spending one-on-one time with them. Watson (2014) advised teachers to simply take a couple minutes per day to chat with a student about anything that is important to him or her. I will not become so concerned about lesson planning and paper grading that I neglect the needs of my students. Instead, I will set aside valuable time to individually talk with my students, allow them to help me with a project, or tutor them in areas where they are struggling.
When cultivating and maintaining relationships with my students’ parents, mutual communication and cooperation are key. First and foremost, I will not do all the talking, but will be willing to listen as well. I will help my students’ families get to know me through personal visits, emails, newsletters, and phone calls. I will communicate to parents about my teaching methods, my curriculum, and my learning goals for their children. In turn I will be willing to listen to the parents’ personal goals for their children and their insights about their children’s individual needs. Secondly, parents will not be shut out of my classroom; they will be utilized. I will invite parents who are interested to volunteer as assistants in the classroom so they can be directly involved in their children’s education. I will follow McCullough’s (2008) advice on having a “ ‘bring your parent to school’ day” (p. 96). I will also encourage all parents to cooperate with me as educators in the home by assessing their children’s schoolwork, holding stimulating discussions, planning educational extracurricular activities, and modeling self-education. I will build and keep lasting relationships with my students’ parents simply by working together with them.
I can cultivate relationships with my employers by supporting them and seeking their support. Before I agree to take a teaching position at a school, I will make sure that I can conscientiously uphold the school’s goals, objectives, and methods. I will not join a school’s staff for the sole purpose of being a reformer unless the administrators of the school are on board with my plans for change. I will do my best to join forces with a school that already has the same goals and objectives as I do. I will also show my employers that I value their support and advice. I will not act as though I am above my administrators. As a new teacher, I will accept evaluations and constructive criticism from the school faculty with appreciation and do my best to improve. When I am struggling or unsure how to handle a situation, I will not be too proud to seek advice from my administrators. This attitude of willingness to seek the support and advice from my advisors will help them to see that I value our relationship and am not trying to be independent of their expertise.
Colleagues should be collaborators, not competitors. An excellent way that I can build relationships with other teachers in my school is by adapting my students’ lessons to integrate with the content other teachers will be presenting in their classes (Kauchak & Eggen, 2014). I will also uphold the school workers in front of my students, even if I do not personally agree with their methods or ideas. Along those same lines, I will avoid instigating or participating in gossip about one teacher with another teacher. If I have serious concerns about a colleague’s actions, I will prayerfully and quietly bring the matter up with the school administration. I will also be a servant-leader. In other words, I will be willing to humbly let others lead and to follow their leadership, but will also be just as willing to roll up my sleeves and lead out if no one else is willing or able to do so. This may mean taking on unpleasant duties that are rejected by other teachers in the school. I will form good relationships with my colleagues by working with them, not against them.
The most important relationship is my relationship with the greatest Teacher of all. As long as I maintain this relationship by putting Christ first in my life, spending time in His word daily, and connecting with Him through prayer, I will be able to shine His light into all other relationships. One of the ways I will do this is by keeping a biblical perspective. Even if I am shackled within the confines of political correctness in a public school, I will still focus on helping my students make attitude and heart changes instead of just trying to manipulate their outward behavior through worldly philosophies. Another way is by making God my highest authority. While I will show the upmost respect and deference for my administrators, I will also make sure that my ultimate allegiance is to God. If my administrators ask something of me that I cannot do in good conscience, I will respectfully take a stand for the right, even if it means losing my earthly position. Lastly, I will be very careful that my speech, dress, actions, and attitudes all reflect Christ. At the same time, I will need to be humble and teachable, willing to admit my mistakes and show that anything good that I do is not done in my own strength, but only through a relationship with and reliance on God.
Educating is more that teaching reading, writing, and arithmetic. Being a teacher is about forming relationships with everyone in the school, and, most importantly, living out my personal relationship with my heavenly Father and my Savior, Jesus Christ. Through time, effort, and lots of prayer, I will be able to build a community of friendships in my school between myself and my students, their parents, my administrators, and my fellow teachers. Furthermore, if I make my relationship with the Lord my highest priority, asking Him into my heart on a daily basis, I know His light will shine through me and touch everyone I come in contact with. This is the bigger picture.
Kauchak, D., & Eggen, P. (2014). Introduction to teaching: Becoming a professional. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education, Inc.
McCullough, J.D. (2008). Kingdom living in your classroom. Colorado Springs, CO: Purposeful Design Publications.
Watson, A. (2014, October 6). The 2×10 strategy: A miraculous solution for behavior issues? [Web log post]. Retrieved from http://thecornerstoneforteachers.com/2014/10/the-2×10-strategy-a-miraculous-solution-for-behavior-issues.html