Reflective Task 1: The Insightful Teacher

What are my goals?

As a student, my goal is to successfully complete the Early Childhood Education diploma program in 2017. Then, I plan to get into the Bachelor of Early Childhood Leadership program by 2018 while working as a Registered Early Childhood Educator (RECE). I also intend to continue my studies into a post-graduate Child Life Specialist program in the next five years.

Whether I work as an RECE or as a Child Life Specialist, I aspire to make a difference in children’s lives and ensure that they feel valued, loved, and protected. I aim to inspire them and help them develop a passion for continuous learning so that they may grow to be successful in their own ways.

What are my strengths? What are my weaknesses?

Growing up, I have always felt left out and that I do not belong anywhere. As a result, I learned to be inclusive in any way I can with almost anyone with whom I work. My sensitivity to my own and to others’ feelings also helps me be more attuned to how I interact with others in a group. I do my best to ensure that nobody feels the way I do in most situations—alone and afraid. I think that this is my strength as an educator who will work with children who vary in skills, developmental level, understanding, behaviour, personalities, and appearances.

However, I find that one of my weaknesses is dealing with people with exceptionalities. I feel that no matter how much I want inclusion in my classroom, I cannot truly implement it because I feel afraid that what I do or say may only impact those around me in a negative way. I feel that no matter how much I try to understand someone’s exceptionalities, I still will not know how to behave in the right manner. Am I excluding them somehow? Am I helping too much? Too little? Is it wrong to ask questions? Is it more wrong to simply assume things?

What behaviours are acceptable to me and which ones are not?

Any behaviour that hurts somebody is unacceptable to me. It breaks my heart to see anyone feeling hurt physically or emotionally. I always feel that I have to do something to help them so that they may feel better, even if it is just a little bit. At the same time, I do not label the person whose behaviour hurt another as “bad”. I try to figure out why they acted in such a way and I do my best to understand them so that we can both find solutions to the root cause of the problem. This is because I feel that they may be hurting in some way, too, and I do not want them to continue feeling that way. I believe that when someone hurts another, it means that there is something going on in their lives that they do not know how to deal with in appropriate manners.

How do I engage the children in the learning process?

I intend to design learning experiences in such a way that interests the children so they may be more involved in the activities. I also welcome the challenge to make dull and/or difficult topics enjoyable and amusing for children to be more engaged in any learning opportunity that is available. I plan to apply ideas and concepts to the children’s lives so that they may appreciate the learning process and its significance in their worlds. Furthermore, I intend to let go of unrealistic expectations by being flexible and by following the children’s leads. I believe that this sets up a positive learning environment where the children are free to explore and to investigate their own curiosities and be more willing to participate in the learning process.

What are my values as a teacher?

As a teacher, I value trust, respect, open communication, open-mindedness, and empathy. I like having a beginner’s mind and giving everyone the benefit-of-the-doubt. I always try to see the good in people and believe that despite any flaws, they are capable, interesting, and have good hearts. I apply these in the classroom as I interact with children, trusting that they have the ability to be great and to do great things even at a very young age. I also believe that being empathetic and having an open communication with children and families foster strong relationships, as well as support their growth and development.

What should an early childhood classroom look like?

An early childhood classroom should be a positive space where children explore, investigate, and experience various learning opportunities without restrictions. It has a good amount of developmentally-appropriate materials that are organized in such a way that supports the children’s development. It is not spotless, but it is a clean and safe environment that is warm and welcoming. I envision it as an extension of the children’s homes where they feel they belong, are loved, and are emotionally safe.

Source of Questions:

Bruski, Nancy (2013). The insightful teacher: Reflective strategies to shape your early childhood classroom. Lewisville, NC: Gryphon House.