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Inside Teaching : August 2010
www.atra.edu.au | firstname.lastname@example.org 10 THINGS I'VE LEARNED ABOUT TEACHING 21 This is a challenge, but also an opportunity for early childhood educators to develop new pathways between the community and the school. 3HAVE A GO Providing a safe environment for learning challenges is an essential part of my responsibility as an educator. That sense of safety helps to build persistence, confdence, resilience and determination in my students, which are all important components of success. I’ve learned that when faced with diffculty, I can choose to be part of the solution or part of the problem. If I look back at how I’ve grown as an educator, the one thing that I keep identifying, whatever the situation, is that the growth came from seeking solutions to issues and working with others to share knowledge and resources. I’ve also learnt through my mistakes and discovered that mastery comes from practise and friendly support. 4BE A MAGPIE I’ve enjoyed collegial associations throughout my career, which is just as well, because teaching is far too large a job to do alone. As an early childhood teacher, I constantly collect and share activities, strategies and professional knowledge. Staying alert for new ideas and continually updating and modifying my planning and activities each year keeps my classroom – and my mind – fresh and open. I’ve met many talented educational innovators who have been willing to share ideas which have revitalised and expanded my practice. 5BE A CONSIDERATE PARTNER It would be impossible for us as teachers not to work closely with other people throughout our careers. The capacity to develop partnerships with students, their families, colleagues and people within the community enriches my work. There’s more to partnership, though, than getting people to help you. It’s easy to expect other people to help me reach the outcomes I believe are important; the challenge is to understand their needs and give them equal weight and control in the relationship – that’s when partnerships really start working. I’ve found that my partnerships with health and other community professionals have been especially important because they’ve resulted in both of us meeting outcomes that beneft children and make our work more effective. 6CREATE AN ENVIRONMENT WHICH ENCOURAGES BELONGING AND ACCEPTANCE Every child and adult has a basic desire to feel they belong and are accepted. As a teacher, I do my best to take the time to make students and families feel comfortable in the environment of the classroom. At the beginning of each year I make a 30 minute visit to each kindergarten student’s house. This begins a crucial initial connection, planting the seed which can grow into a happy and healthy relationship that every family should have with their school. Through home visits, I’ve had the privilege and opportunity to hear many family stories as we’ve chatted. In doing that, I’m also building a bridge for developing effective home-school partnerships and facilitating access to community networks and resources. 7TEACH HOW TO LEARN The capacity to be a life learner requires a degree of humility and the knowledge that learning is an endless quest. As a teacher, I can model this to my students and let them know I haven’t stopped learning – and neither should they. The capacity to wonder and question is the window to real learning and the catalyst for innovation and invention.