By Stephanie Knight, PhD
Faculty, College of Education
“Education is not the filling of a bucket but the lighting of a fire.” W.B. Yeates
I want to ignite my students’ love of reading. Moreover, I want to set them up for success, and thus my goal every year is to create a classroom of readers. But first, they need buy-in. So, I saturate them daily with the why.
The need for people in STEM-related careers is at an all-time high. Science, tech, engineering and math fields are looking for people who can think critically, solve problems and work with science and math concepts with ease. For years, much of this type of work has been outsourced to other countries, but with the growing dependence on tech, domestic businesses are also increasing hires in these fields.
While teachers are preparing students for their potential careers, they are also imparting the many other benefits of bringing STEM concepts into the classroom. One way to do this is through robotics. While building robotic figures and getting them to work, students learn skills like mechanics, engineering, coding and more.
No matter how thoroughly your degree program prepares you to become a teacher, you will find that there is nothing quite like the insight you will gain from hands-on experience. Many new teachers discover that talking to parents is harder than they expected. The trick is to assume the right mindset. Always remember that the parents know their child best, even though you work with that child every school day. Parents want the best for their kids, but they do not always know how to help them. Everyone will benefit when you start a friendly, collaborative relationship with all of your students’ parents right from the start.
By Micah Lee
Alumna, College of Education
As a kindergarten teacher, I teach students from all walks of life: my students come into my classroom with diverse backgrounds, experiences, families and cultures. These differences often include values. Some children are raised with Christian values, and some are just taught how to be decent human beings, but some may struggle to understand the importance of having values in one’s life.
By Anastasia Smith
Early Childhood Education Major, College of Education
“There is a fundamental question we all have to face. How are we to live our lives; by what principles and moral values will we be guided and inspired?” (H. Jackson Brown, Jr.)
As educators, we are responsible for the lives of impressionable young people, our students who will spend up to 6.5 educational hours a day with us. Therefore, we have a great responsibility to give them the skillsets they will need to succeed in the world. It is important, however, to remember that this isn’t limited to killer social skills or the ability to navigate the academic world seamlessly; as educators, we also have to model great values.
By Faith Brown, MA, MEd
Alumna, College of Education
Cultural-centered teaching is an instructional method that requires knowledge of all cultures present in the classroom. Once classroom culture has been identified, the culture of the educator forms a perimeter of protection to the learning environment, making it a safe place for students and the teacher to be culturally influenced while learning.
Race is not a factor in cultural-centered teaching, for we can be of the same race, but of different cultures. Culture of community members acts as the light to brighten the paths to success for students when community members are actively involved in providing internships, employment, job shadowing opportunities and information that is essential to students making informed decisions about their future.
Working with children in the field of education is a calling that some truly enjoy. However, you need to reflect carefully on your own personality, strengths and weaknesses before deciding to become an early childhood or elementary educator. The following characteristics are just a few signs that you will enjoy working with children:
By Stephanie Knight, EdD
Adjunct Faculty, College of Education
You’ve worked so hard to get where you are in teaching. You’ve conquered the grueling schooling; you’ve weathered the late nights of grading papers; you’ve remedied the lesson that just flopped; and you’ve even dealt with the difficult students and helped them overcome their limitations.
So what’s making coming to work so much harder these days?
Perhaps it’s a parent or two.
By Corey Krampen, MEd
Alumnus, College of Education
Students who are in need of repeating a grade early in their educational career oftentimes feel like a failure. While that may be true in this particular grade level, it does not mean that the student is a failure forever. How the student’s parents view this and how they convey their feelings to their child can be beneficial or detrimental. The student will feed off of the parents’ vibes.
In a perfect world, of course, none of us want our children to have to repeat a grade. However, if our viewpoint on this focuses on the positives rather than the setback, our children will be more inclined to use this event as a launch pad towards the rest of their career. The same holds true for the parents. If they choose to use this setback as a launching pad, their child will benefit.
By Brandon Juarez, MEd
Assistant Professor, College of Education
Character education is at the heart of a free and appropriate public education. If this seems commonsense and undisputable, one only has to search local district websites to see vast differences in how schools interpret the meaning, purpose and value of character education. Neighboring districts vary from collaborative initiatives that span from kindergarten through high school, while others make no mention or do not seem to display much effort.
Why is there such a difference?