Module 1 Journal: Teaching Profession
During my tenure as an elementary and middle/secondary school educator, effectiveness in the classroom has been largely parent-driven. I have spent the entirety of my teaching career in Catholic Elementary Schools in associated with the Archdiocese of Washington1. The student populations have originated across the entire socioeconomic spectrum. Largely, but not exclusively, the upper middle class and beyond are involved to a far greater extent in their child??™s attendance and work habits in comparison to their less privileged counterparts. Although tuition assistance is readily available to those who qualify, in many ways the lower income students find themselves at a distinct disadvantage before even setting foot in the classroom. I have found that a radically different approach is appropriate based on the background of a particular student.
Children in my classroom that have been driven from an early age need to be challenged on a daily basis. This can be achieved in any number of ways, through additional (advanced) assignments and projects, and placing them in leadership positions with their classmates. The religious foundation and structure has also been helpful in this regard. Students that require, and in many ways seek out, an additional challenge are often more disciplined in their approaches to the challenges presented and their dedication to achievement. Conversely, from the opposite end of the financial scale, I??™ve often sensed a greater need for relationship. As the academic year progresses and I begin to develop a certain rapport with some students that need more attention than their classmates, their attentiveness and effort usually increases accordingly.
Much like any endeavor with a human element, effectiveness in the classroom can be inconsistent, to say the least. Two students with the exact same variables in place from a socioeconomic standpoint ??“ perhaps even from the same residence ??“ may produce drastically different results in terms of their response. For this reason primarily, along with other instances that require social worker expertise as an educator, I??™ve often pursued professional development opportunities in the areas of cultural diversity2. Understanding and celebrating the differences among my students is often a major contributor to effective instruction on a daily basis. As referenced previously, because of the religious component present within and overseeing the schools I??™ve taught in, a heavier emphasis has been placed on relationships, even in the seminars and workshops we hold as a staff.
1 – http://www.adw.org/home.asp
2 – http://www.marylandeducators.org/detail.aspxid=785