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.
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.