I barely remember my elementary class, but what remains in my memory is the inability of many teachers to perceive me as an individual and understand me. At that time, my thoughts were overflowing with dreams and ideas that seemed to be incredibly inspiring and beautiful. I used to spend most of my time in class, and naturally, I wanted to share my aspirations with people. Regrettably, teachers tended to focus on the school curriculum and their ideas about the right things and often did not recognize the value in their students’ experiences and feelings.
As a child, I considered it exceedingly unfair and disappointing. I was upset every time my idea was criticized and rejected because it did not meet the requirements. I now understand that teachers cannot be blamed for anything. They used to be children themselves and were also brought up by other teachers who, in turn, imposed specific requirements and rules on them. Humanity owes its academic and scientific achievements to the education system. At the same time, it happens that this system ruins the ability to think independently and act intuitively.
I believe that open-mindedness and attention to the inner world of children is the leading quality of a teacher in elementary education. Moreover, modern researchers have pointed out the high value of the “learning-from-teaching competencies that remain otherwise underdeveloped” (Santagata et al. 475). Children can be the source of a new view of the situation, and the hierarchical structure of their relationship with the teacher is not always justified. I have worked in child care for ten years and would love nothing more than to continue my career working with children. I would like to interact with children as equals because very often they can teach adults, which has been the greatest surprise of my practice.
I am no longer a child, and, naturally, it is always tricky for me to make a choice between rules and discipline on the one hand, and uncontrolled childhood openness and inspiration on the other. However, I have a dream that there will be a place for them in schools, colleges, and universities. In my opinion, all great personalities have demonstrated qualities typical of children. When children disagree with me or get upset with my suggestions, I try to understand how they see the situation. I had gained a lot of experience and insight working with children and practicing the approach I so much desired when I was a child.
I believe that teachers who know how to learn from those they teach can fundamentally transform our assumptions about education. I hope that at USF, I am capable of combining my approach and belief with academic education, which will allow me to implement them. More importantly, I hope to encourage other people from students to professors to consider children as teachers. I became sensitive and attentive to children because it was to me when I was a child. Now, I also want to become a qualified professional.
Santagata, Rossella, et al. “Preparing Elementary School Teachers to Learn from Teaching: A Comparison of Two Approaches to Mathematics Methods Instruction.” Journal of the Learning Sciences, vol. 27, no. 3, 2018, pp. 474-516.