The difference between a learner and an emerging teacher is one which changes perspective in how the classroom is used. When I look at my own situation, I find that there is a gap between being a learner and a teacher. Expectations, changing roles and the alterations in subject are some of the various changes which I am encountering with the subject. This is followed by the different responsibilities that are a part of being a teacher, as opposed to being a learner. Identifying each of these within my personal life and making the transition into the needed responsibilities and changes is the beginning of perspectives which I have to alter the way in which I look at being both a learner and a teacher.
The first change in perspective and in responsibility which I have noticed is with the ideology of being a learner in a diverse classroom as opposed to working as a teacher with the need to associate with the needs of different learners. Multiculturalism, diversity, behaviors and other associations within the classroom are the main concepts now associated with the classroom. The demand is to learn how to work in the classroom with the changes and to find new solutions to the dynamics of the classroom (Greene, 1993). I have noticed that working in a classroom as a learner often creates friction because of the same problem. When I am working as a learner, I noticed the diversity and also note that the structure within the classroom doesn’t work. However, as a teacher, there is no solution to the current structure that is a part of the classroom. When looking at the responsibilities of an emerging teacher, there is the understanding that the environment and dynamics has to change for the right change and ability to learn with the diverse classroom. This creates more of an understanding as a learner and the ability to find new solutions as an emerging teacher.
The concept of the diverse classroom and meeting the changes and needs that are a part of the teaching and learning further with understanding what is needed to begin teaching. This begins with the images that are in the classroom for the environment as well as how children perceive and respond to this. The image which a learner has toward the classroom and the image which the teacher has of the child is an alternative perspective. There are changes that alter according to the environment and what is occurring between the changing images of the learner and the teacher (Malaguzzi, Emilia, 1993). I know that as a learner, I look at the environment first, which gives a specific impression of the teacher and what the highlights are for the year. This is followed with how the environment may affect or change my desire to learn. I also know that as a learner, I look at how the teacher looks at me and what is expected of me. This means that as a teacher, I will need to create an environment that builds the right first impression. That also means that I will need to be cautious of the images which I have of learners and what is expected. This makes an impact on the learning and the changes which occur throughout the year in the given environment.
The environment and impressions in the classroom are furthered with other concepts and responsibilities between the learner and teacher. Teaching as a pedagogical activity is one which requires more than a basic curriculum and the ability to associate with the classroom. It is one which requires responsibilities for understanding what children are able to offer while building the diverse classroom. The curriculum becomes a foundation that should be expanded on by the teacher so there is an understanding of subject material and a sense of responsibility toward what all children need (Van Manen, 1991). This concept is one of the most difficult for both learners and teachers. My experience as a learner is one which has noted this, specifically because of my place in the classroom. There have been times where the curriculum and assignments didn’t make sense; however, the ability for the teacher to be available is impossible. This leads to misunderstandings and effects that continue to cause problems with learning. However, as a teacher, my awareness of this problem isn’t enough. I know that I will have to transfer to giving personal attention to each student while trying to work into the needs of every individual in the classroom while changing the curriculum according to the needs. This challenge and the feeling of responsibility that is associated with this becomes complex when moving into a teaching position. The amount of responsibility which has to be held is then one which creates a sense of trying to redefine pedagogical tact and how it can be used.
The main complexities in the classroom and the difference between the learner and the teacher further with the understanding of relationships and how the dynamics change in the classroom. The curriculum is only the basis of being in the classroom and relating to the children with environment and images. This relates to concepts such as through Gardner, in which the classroom relates to multiple intelligences and psychological components. This is furthered with social, intellectual and cultural associations which each child has (Rinaldi, 2006). When in the classroom, there is an understanding that there needs to be an existence of dimensions with the students and what is being taught. However, like the other concepts in the classroom, this becomes complex. The learner that I have carried through with a specific role expects the dimensions and the ability to associate psychologically, socially and culturally with the teacher. I recall several times where the teacher is unable to create this connection, causing frustration and a lack of learning. However, I have also noted that as a teacher, there is no formula or method to try to reach students at these dimensions and levels. While there are several theories and types of experimentation, this is limited to the specific understanding of the time and the educational hierarchy that has been established. As an emerging teacher, I am required to begin changing my approach to teaching while being aware of the multiple dimensions of learning by building my own curriculum.
The role of the learner and the emerging teacher is one which holds a gap between expectations and responsibilities. As a learner, there is the understanding that specific requirements should be met and allow for dynamic teaching to offer more, as opposed to not receiving the right levels of learning. However, an emerging teacher holding to these responsibilities is one which leads to experiences of the learner which may not be met. The difficulty and challenge of being an emerging teacher is to reflect on and take all the experiences as a learner and to change the way in which subjects are taught. However, this is often limited by what is known or expectations. Moving into dimensions of teaching, changing the environment and altering the images of students then becomes a challenge to those who are moving into a different role within the classroom.
Greene, Maxine. (1993). “Diversity and Inclusion: Towards a Curriculum for Human Beings.” Teachers College Record 95 (2).
Malaguzzi, L. (1994, March/April). Your image of the child. Where teaching begins. Child care information exchange.
Renaldi, C. (2006). Documentation and Assessment: What is the relationship? Dialogue with Reggio Emilia. London & New York, NY Routledge Taylor & Francis Group.
Van Manen, M. (1991). Pedagogical tact. the tact of teaching: The meaning of pedagogical thoughtfulness. London, ON: Althouse Press.