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What is MY Role?

This week’s EC&I 831 class was a very thought provoking class. Our presenter was Stephen Downes and the discussion was about the role of the Educator. Throughout the class, Stephen must have mentioned about twenty different roles that a teacher can play. At the beginning of the discussion he brought up two very interesting comments that I had never thought about before. He stated that the teacher is no longer “the sage on the stage” or the “guide by the side”. Through out my education, I have had instructors or teachers that played both of these roles and I find it interesting looking back at my educational career and thinking about the different roles my instructors have played.  I find that when I am in the classroom, there are times when I am “the sage on the stage” and other times when I sit back and am the “guide by the side”. I find that with the little ones, it is important that one bounces back and forth between these two traditional roles often.

Teacher by ben110, on Flickr
Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.0 Generic License  by  ben110 

As class went on, Stephen delved into some more in-depth roles that a teach/instructor portrays in the classroom. When I look at my classroom, I find that one of the roles that I like to play is the role of the learner. There are many times where I will try a new project or theme with my students and I tell them that I am learning along with them.  Often to keep life interesting at work, I will pick projects that I have never done before because this allows me to learn at the same time as the children. While the children are working, I am constantly adapting the project so that it is either easier or more challenging for the students. Another role that I play in the classroom is the role of the moderator. When you work with children between the ages four to six, I find that I am constantly trying to make sure that everyone has a turn, that all the students have a chance to participate, that the child who answers every question allow time for the others to answer also. This role however seems more dominant when we are working in a large group setting. I also agree with Chelsi that the role of the peacekeeper is important also in a classroom. As she describes this role in her blog, it is one that educates while maintaining law and order. This role is obvious in a Kindergarten classroom because there are times when I spend most of the day talking about behaviours and how we need to treat others in the classroom. Another key role that I find a Kindergarten teacher plays is that of caregiver. Often the teacher spends more time with the child during the day than the parent is able to due to many different circumstances and it is the teacher that is there to comfort the child when something bad happens, to celebrate when they do something well, to encourage when they are trying something new and to push them when they think that they can’t do something.

 

En av mina jag: läraren by krissen, on Flickr
Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.0 Generic License  by  krissen 
This picture sums up for me what it is like to be a teacher right now in a classroom. When you look at this picture, you can see one man being many different things all at once. The only thing that is missing in this picture for me is the students. If you were able to insert the students in this image, I imagine that you would see this man working individually with some students, helping other students with something that is bothering them emotionally, encouraging yet another group to try something new, talking to the whole group about a new concept, evaluating how the students are interacting, etc. I feel as if I could go on and on about what this one man is doing in the classroom and probably never mention everything that he does on a daily basis. When it is written out like this, it certainly feels like we do a lot during the day, but I don’t know if I really want to change that aspect of my job. I enjoy the fact that I am able to be many things to many people at once. I find that is what makes us unique as teachers because we can do this. I often here from parents that they can not imagine doing my job and they seem to always end that conversation with a heart felt thank you. That is just one of the many reasons that I love my job.
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Comments on: "What is MY Role?" (4)

  1. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this session and your role as a teacher/learner. The photo is great – great analogy for the many roles we play simultaneously.

  2. Interesting take on the many roles you find yourself playing in the classroom. I had very similar thoughts as Downes did his presentation Tuesday…like you the many hats we wear as teachers is one of the things that makes the job so challenging and yet fun at the same time. Downes assertion that teachers will not wear all of those hats in the future is somewhat troubling to me – I have a hard time envisioning students needing less than they do now (especially with the ever changing needs coming into every classroom). I can see more resources being required but filing teachers into a very specific role is one I struggle to envision. Who knows he could very well be right in his assertion?

  3. I too enjoy learning along with my students. I have rarely ever done the same project twice. If I have ever repeated a unit, the project or summary of learning has changed.

    I too enjoy being many things to many people. I think that this fills the need we all have to be useful to others!

  4. Although I am not currently teaching, I can see how much the discussion of the expansion of role expectations for teachers has resonated with you and many of our classmates. I can even see parallels with my own field, which deals with organisational learning. With learning being the current strategy for organisational growth and prosperity, along with this has come many different roles for the field of Human Resource Development. It makes me gasp for breath a little. But then I think about how, with the move towards collective learning through technology, maybe some of these roles can be shared with others rather than taking it all on and struggling to cope.

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