Part of the Process

Thoughts on becoming a teacher.

Anonymous no more

3 Comments

Community is a longtime favorite topic of mine. Yesterday, as I was driving to class I spent some time reflecting on community and personal experiences. I attended a fairly large high school and college. There were times that I felt I was anonymous. I liked this anonymity. Or, rather, I thought I did. As I got into smaller classes and had classes with more and more of the same people, I realized that I felt more comfortable and that I was in a place where I belonged. When I joined Peace Corps, I still had notions that I enjoyed being an anonymous person in the crowd. Through my Peace Corps training I learned a lot about the importance of community, we had to get to know the people and places where we lived in order to do any work. Getting to know the people in your community was a primary goal. Moving to a small rural village shattered any speck of anonymity I had left. Everyone knew me and the village was so small we all had a good idea of people’s personal lives and habits too. This helped me feel like I belonged (as did all the home-cooked meals, warm greetings and friendly smiles).

I started thinking about this subject in the first place because of a new mentoring program at my school. Every teacher was asked to pick a few students to mentor. The teacher would visit the children they picked when they had the time (during planning periods and recess) and get to know them on a more personal level. The idea is to move beyond academics and get to know the whole child. This is such a great way to foster community and support students. Not only will the teachers get to know the school community better by visiting other classes and getting to know more students, these children will feel like this school is a place where they belong, a place they are known. I think we all are more successful in this type of environment.

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3 thoughts on “Anonymous no more

  1. I, also, am excited about the “excuse” one of our assignments gives us another chance to connect with of a few of our students. I know the pace is going to pick up in my weeks in the classroom. Being the lead for a classroom full of students takes a lot of energy and tends to change the perspective from which you are noticing the students. Trying to understand each individual member of your class of 24 – 30 students is a lot more difficult than getting to understand each student in an individual or small group setting. I am glad our classes worked in some oppurtunites to work with smaller groups

    • I couldn’t agree more. I worked on my science interviews this week and really appreciated the opportunity to have one-on-one conversations with students. I also tried out having short, informal reading conferences during Independent Reading time this week. I loved the chance to just talk with students and to be able to give them more of my attention. I’ve been surprised at how few of these opportunities there can be.

  2. I’m always drawn to reflections of this nature. Community and whole-child education really, for me, are the keys to successfully educating. Think of the countless ways these connections remove our own insecurities about whether or not we’re making learning relevant for our students? How could we NOT be relevant if we know them beyond the walls of our class?

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