I have often thought that as teachers, we really should have a focus, like a specialty area. I know many of us do. Some of us teach British lit., or chemistry, still others are special education teachers. Still, within those specialized areas, we still should have a focus. Not every doctor is a brain surgeon, after all, and so we too should specialize in some area of teaching. Perhaps this is more challenging for the elementary teacher of multiple subjects. Where does one begin?
My area of focus has been creating and maintaining a positive classroom climate. This is an area that should be important in all classrooms, and for all teachers (and I am not suggesting it isn't). I have chosen, though, this area to be one in which I put much concentrated effort, thought, and practice into. As I have mentioned in previous posts, this was the area in which I studied and researched in graduate school. I chose this as a research area because I was very troubled as to how I would reach the students in my current district (at that time, many of the schools I was involved with were low-income, and I was presented with challenging students).
After studying and researching this topic, I made a commitment to myself to continue this study. It wasn't enough to stop with it at graduate school, but I needed to further my understanding by continuing to actively pursue it in my own classroom. As such, this is what I do on a day-to-day basis. Since students cannot learn until they feel comfortable and safe, I feel this supersedes any other necessity in the classroom.
During the summers I continue to read research on the topic, even going back to my own findings. In the classroom, I actively reach out to my students to build those ever-important relationships to ensure students feel safe and care for. I take time to listen to my students and hear their pleas. How quick are we to disregard what they have to say? With a tender heart, I try my best to always listen to each of my students. Is it draining? Yes. Time consuming? That too. Well worth it? Definitely.
What about the rest of you? What do you focus on in your teaching? How do you actively work on that focus daily? I would love to hear from you.
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