Being a teacher, we have 6 hours a day and 5 days a week to make a difference. That is 30 hours a week to ignite passion, imagination, and academic success. This call to action is the key I need to unlock the potential inside my classrooms each and every year. As educators, we must show we care about the child holistically and want to adhere to being sensitive to both their physical and cognitive development. This shows your students you care, not only about their academic success, but the person that they will become. I am aware that the learning taking place in my classroom is not solely centered around reading, writing, and mathematics. My core practices as a teacher stem from the 4 C’s of 21st century learning.
Creativity – “Play is the highest form of research” – Einstein
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When speaking of creativity in the classroom, I want to highlight originality. Through modeling my original work, I think it’s important to express that not all student or teacher work is going to turn out exactly the same when working creatively, but there is ultimate beauty in that concept. With some concepts being so right or wrong in the primary ages, I want to incorporate some grey area into my students’ daily routine. I believe creativity is a pivotal turning point in the mind of a young learner. One way of integrating creativity is through The Growth Mindset, coined by Carol Dweck into my classroom philosophy. When you have a task at hand, seemingly doable or not, you have to come up with a creative strategy of how you will make that goal more attainable.
Communication – “Genius is the ability to put into effect what is on your mind” – F. Scott Fitzgerald
As a teacher, you need to give every single student, parent, and staff member the respectful language they deserve. Modeling and teaching students what it means to be respectful while communicating is a task that should be enforced and modeled every day in the classroom. Having students be aware that their words affect people will help them to be more cognizant of it. There are immediate potential consequences if a student shows any sign or display of disrespectful language to anyone else. Additionally, having students communicate ideas, questions, and answers can help those around them learn without asking. Sometimes students are too shy to communicate so if one student voices a concern or confusion, the whole class will benefit from hearing the answer.
Collaboration – “The fun for me in collaboration is, one, working with other people just makes you smarter; that’s proven” Lin-Manuel Miranda
Collaborating effectively with your classroom and engaging students in activities that have them interact with their peers is essential to power this well-oiled machine, the classroom. By having students collaborate with not just their peers but the teacher as well, it will help create a sense of community. It will enable students to feel safe and free to express themselves more in an academic setting. Having students realize that it is beneficial for them to work collaboratively to solve problems and create solutions is a life skill that I aim to teach in my classroom. Collaborating should also be used amongst teachers. I believe working with your grade level teachers offers new perspectives on how to approach a problem, teach a lesson in a new way, and can also lend a new teacher advice on all things that teaching entails. Collaborative relationships are absolutely vital in order for students to have academic and career success in the 21st century.
Critical Thinking – “To understand is to invent”- Piaget
Learning is a journey that shouldn’t end once you step foot outside of a classroom. Knowledge is power and allows you the opportunity to effect change and help the world. Having students research and read about topics that interest them is just one way of doing this. Also, giving them creative autonomy will result in them having a more positive experience with learning overall. Teach your students that learning doesn’t stop once you leave the classroom. By teaching them about all of the places and resources they have outside of the school, their curiosity is sparked and they’re empowered to go explore those venues and further build on their knowledge.