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Role of the TeacherTeachers are charged with many roles and a lot of expectations for every class they teach.
What are the most pertinent roles? What are the most enjoyable? How do you find a balance?
In a big picture view of teaching, one can easily say teachers are managers. They manage the class decorum, lesson plans, timing of activities, engagement of students, study, relevance of topic - everything that goes on in the classroom and even things that don't! This can be hard, especially for new teachers because all the attention is placed on you, which can detract from students own learning. You may resent the role of being a classroom manager but it is the role that allows teachers to teach. Being a manager is necessary to survive as a teacher. It is important to start off somewhat business-like beginning day one. This helps establish requirements, boundaries and what the typical routine of coming to class is expected to look like. Establishing a routine early on is extremely helpful because once this is in place, the teacher can ease up a little and concentrate on more enjoyable roles.
A teacher needs to be comfortable in the roles of assessor, prompter and participant as well. The need for evaluation of what is being retained and what requires more attention is indispensable. This helps to plan future lessons and have a handle on what is reasonable to expect from a given class. Often along the way, students will lose their train of thought or become distracted. All that is needed is a little gesture or encouraging reminder. In this case, less is often more. We want to allow students to find the answers under their own resolution. It is important to let students feel that we had confidence in their capabilities all along. While assessor and prompter may be more readily acknowledged as imperative the value of participating alongside students can not be ignored. Participating as an equal with students allows the boundary between teacher and student to be lessened for a period of time. students, especially young learners, can let their guard down and feel more comfortable to take part in activities. It can be helpful in creating a good rapport with your class and to generate enthusiasm among students as they are influenced by the teacher?s energy and interest. The role of participant can also be coupled with that of being a learner. Among the most important roles teachers assume is that of learner. Learners model continual improvement, demonstrate lifelong learning and use what they learn to help all students achieve.
A teacher should assume the roles of tutor, resource specialist and model as well. These may be more common day to day type roles but they are still very important. Being a tutor and mentor denote a more personal manner of helping students, often including individual attention. Sometimes it will be necessary for a teacher to withdraw from being the center of learning. During exercises like this, it is still key for teachers to be available as a resource guide for where and how to find suitable material and references.
It is also important to note that to be a good teacher we need to sometimes adopt the role of entertainer. If we design lessons to be lively and engaging students are much more likely to pay attention and be motivated to participate. We must find a balance to provide real learning opportunities and still make things be fun. This leads to yet another enjoyable role - that of motivator. Everyone needs a little encouragement to brighten their day. Motivational words can go a long way in instilling drive and determination to achieve in students.
Being a good teacher is a demanding and multi-faceted job with many roles. As we have seen some roles are more enjoyable and rewarding than others but a balance is essential as with all things. It is a good practice for a teacher to start out with definite guidelines and boundaries so that when the routine is established, they are able to take a step back from being such a manager to more of a facilitator.
? Ten Roles for Teacher Leaders by Cindy Harrison and Joellen Killion
www.ascd.org/publications/educational-leadership - Sept. 2007 - Vol. 65
? The Classroom: The Teacher Role
http://fm44.wordpress.com/2007/ - December 23, 2007
? Unit 1 from iTTT tefl certification