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  • Anna Brix Thomsen

How do I Become The Best Teacher I can be? DAY 50

In and from this post I am going to start walking a blog series where I will be investigating my work as a teacher and the points that I’ve found within the position of being a teacher that reflects back to ‘who I am’ as the personalities that I’ve accepted myself as – specifically also in regards to the entire ‘school/student/teacher/authorities’ aspect.

Because in my daily work as a teacher I am seeing specific points where I am definitely not as effective that I’d like to be and that I see would be optimal for me to be the best possible teacher I can be. And interestingly enough I can also see how all of these points reflects directly back to ‘who I am’ in general. One point for instance is in relation to how I’m often being very ‘soft’ with the students in the sense that I allow them to ‘slack’ and this is something that I’ve also allowed within myself, which is obviously why I’m allowing it in them. It is therefore also interesting in this context how we literally will transfer ’who we are’ to the children we work with or to our own children, no matter how many books we’ve read about parenting or how many years we’ve studied to become a teacher. Because although we are professionals, we’re also using ourselves as the primary tool in our work – and therefore ‘who we are’ will reflect back into our work. The reason why I’m saying ‘who we are’ is because I’m referring to all the constructed personalities and characters that we live throughout our day that isn’t really WHO we are in fact, but that we’ve gathered throughout out lives based on experiences and memories and various strategies of social and mental survival.

So for us to become the best teachers or parents we can be, it is in fact of utmost importance and urgency – no matter where we’re located on the ‘continuum’ – that we start reflecting on ‘who’ we are as teachers, how that reflects back to the personalities we’ve accepted ourselves in and as, and how we can step out of and change these to become effective teachers and parents.

Another thing that I have noticed is that I’ve tried very hard to get the students to like me, more than I’ve focused on getting them to learn. One of the reasons for this is also that I reflect myself as a student when I was a child back to them and how I desperately wanted teachers that would make learning interesting and thrilling and assist me to become passionate about learning. But as I’ve realized, that’s easier said than done. First of all – each student is different and I can’t simply expect that they will be passionate about what I would have been passionate about as a child.

In terms of me gaining learning experience as a teacher, I’m actually in a perfect situation, because I teach mostly individual students or groups no larger than three. But that also mean that I on a ‘regular’ day can meet students of all skill levels, students with all kinds of different expressions and ways of communicating and I see how this requires a high level of flexibility on my part. So what I’ve for example worked with is to, when I step into the class room, I am one hundred percent there with that student, even if it’s just for thirty minutes (which most of my lessons are) – I’m giving my full attention to this student and adjust the lesson according to their specific expression and skill level. However I also see that this is something I require to continue working with. Because one experience that I continuously have is that of wanting to go home and be done with my day. And what is interesting is that I see how this has to do with how I’ve defined the day as separated into work as ‘chore/obligation’ and home as ‘freedom’ – and this is quite silly indeed and unnecessary and it is also something that contributes to me seeing the work part of the day as ‘less than’ and ‘less valuable’ and ‘inferior’ to the rest of the day, as though the rest of the day is ‘mine’ while when I’m working I experience myself as ‘enslaved’. I’m sure many people can relate to this – but it’s not something we often discuss or even take note of, especially not in the context of actually working with stopping these experiences. It is interesting because there’s this idea that we’re supposed to be fully devoted to our work, that we’re supposed to gratefully give our all to the work, but who here cannot relate to the experience of doing the bare minimum and then spending the entire day looking forward to going home? I’m sure I’m not the only one.

So what I see is that this is a taboo and the solution is then not to simply pretend like this is something I don’t experience – because the matter of fact is that I do and I can see how it compromises the children I work with, even if it is in a seemingly ’subtle’ way. Because what I’ve noticed is that most kids are very sensitive to what we’re as adults resonantly ‘emitting’ even when we believe that we’re successfully hiding it, so when I’m in a hurry to get out the door, which often happens at my last lesson, they quickly pick up on it. What I see is that kids are quite used to adults emitting that they don’t want to be with them, and I know that this is harsh to say – but it’s the truth ain’t it? We’ve got ‘better’ things to do – but because this is a taboo we try to convince children that we’re fully available for them, even though they see straight through us.

But unfortunately we’ve presented them with a world made up of lies where they have no choice but to play along. So this is what I’m committing myself to change within my role as a teacher because I see clearly that I cannot be the best teacher I can possibly be if I accept and allow myself to not be fully present here in the moment with the children I teach.

In conjunction with this blog series, I suggest to take a moment to read the following blog-post on Basic Income and Teaching where the points I’ve discussed here are further expanded upon. I recommend reading the following blogs:

Natural Learning Abilities blog series – a MUST READ! 

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