A teacher education career has been my ambition for many years. Watching the recorded video of the panel discussing crucial issues in the sector was the best opportunity I had to learn about the challenges, expectations, and values of the teacher education career. The career panel was well suited to deliver the talk, and their presentation was timely and relevant. I felt that the topics discussed, such as the sources of motivation, empathy, and students’ social-emotional well-being, among others, were crucial for a career education career (Teacher Education Career Panel). Although these effects may not be felt all at once, each has a unique place in the career journey. The ability to which teachers can apply these basic principles in the relevant cases determines how well students learn and retain the concepts taught. The panelists answered students’ questions clearly, giving examples that helped me understand the themes better.
I was excited to learn that some people derive motivation from within, while others are drawn into the career by the positive feedback received from society and students’ knowledge gaps. Before watching this video, I thought that teachers must get their motivation from an inner drive for knowledge dissemination and a love for students. I found that it is not always the case, which gave me a new perspective on the career. One of the panelists, a coach, described how he was always invited to coach students in games and, over time, became interested in teaching (Teacher Education Career Panel). This was something new to me, and I thought it was quite a dynamic approach to teacher education careers.
The Most Valuable Information
Teaching, as a profession, requires continuous improvement and application of new and advanced teaching methods. From the information discussed in the panel, two specific pieces of information struck me as most important. First, the knowledge that classroom management strategies differ and significantly affect teaching was very crucial to me. I understood that a teacher is not just expected to deliver some information to students but also to ensure the classroom is well-organized. One of the panelists used an example of a student sharpening their pencil and said that although that is part of their learning, they should not do it anyhow (Teacher Education Career Panel). This bespeaks organization skills and an element of control in the classroom.
This topic was most important because it reminded me of my primary education. Some teachers were more respected than others, depending on how they managed the classrooms. As I look forward to a great practice as a professional teacher, this information o effective classroom management strategies will prove invaluable to my successful practice and create value in the profession. Fonseca-Chacana agrees that students’ participation in learning through sharing of information promotes better outcomes than when they remain mere recipients of the information (267). Classroom management goes beyond sitting arrangements and spans participatory strategies such as question-answering and integrating co-curricular activities in the learning process. As the country is recovering from a pandemic that disrupted learning activities globally, teachers need to be innovative in designing teaching effective teaching methods. Therefore, the information shared will be crucial to new and experienced teachers.
The second piece of information that came out as critical in the profession is that teaching has to be relevant. According to one of the panelists, you have to ask yourself, “Is the information I am giving to the students relevant for their studies now, and does it have future applications?” (Teacher Education Career Panel 2021). I connected this to the perceived goal of education, which is to prepare individuals for various roles in the future for the improvement of human life (Fonseca-Chacana 268). I learned that teaching should be guided by the value-addition principle. This formed one of the most important concepts because I understood why some teachers had to change their teaching methods and integrate practical sessions back in my high school. The world is changing, and traditional learning methods are proving incapable of meeting future needs in regard to technology and innovation. For this reason, value addition and relevance are crucial concepts that will prove very beneficial in my career practice.
Central Focus Themes
The Theme of Growth
Every teacher wants to be the best there is, but many fail to recognize the journey they have to follow to attain top performance. The theme of growth is discussed at length in the panel. Although it springs from the question of what to expect once a person joins the teaching profession, I felt that it should have formed the central goal of the panel discussions. As one of the panelists explained, one has to understand that one cannot become a competent teacher in one day. Just like all other professions, a person has to fail before they can succeed. According to Kerr and Andreotti, teachers should continually learn and apply new teaching strategies to meet changing needs (647). Growth and change are interlinked concepts that reveal the importance of having an open mind as a teacher. In some cases, teachers can actually learn from students, and therefore, no teacher should assume they have achieved their best; every day should be considered a growth opportunity.
The Theme Of Social-Emotional Health
Teaching involves connecting with students at various levels and identifying their needs. Students have different personalities that determine their social interactions, and helping them to feel safe and free is a teacher’s crucial role (Warren 169). The teacher education panel raised an issue regarding students’ social-emotional health and how introverts can be supported in the classroom environment. This is an important theme because, according to Kerr and Andreotti, practical teaching that will produce significant results has to be centered on handling diversities in a manner that creates equity and equality among learners (650). One panelist mentioned how she was affected when one of her students was going through a traumatic experience (Teacher Education Career Panel). This example shows that teachers form strong connections with students, which is helpful to introverted students and those undergoing emotional challenges. This theme cuts across all fields in the teaching profession.
The Most Valuable Dispositions
My vision of joining the teaching profession is that I would positively influence my students and society. My practice will be assessed based on several dispositions that reflect the quality of my work. Although I wish to be the best teacher, I understand that I may not be top I all ten dispositions. However, I note that some carry more influence than others, and focusing on those, would make me effective and productive. I believe that connecting with the students, applying classroom management, and facilitating students’ emotional health are the essential values on which I can base and assess my growth in the teacher education career. The three dispositions are highlighted below, along with their values.
Following through with Responsibilities, Promptness, Preparedness, Dependability, & Organization
One of the most important elements in learning is the environment. The classroom setting and organization determine how well a teacher interacts with students. For instance, one of the panelists mentioned the importance of a good desk arrangement (Teacher Education Career Panel). In the teaching profession, a teacher is responsible for students’ well-being both academically and psychologically. For this reason, they are expected to be dependable, sociable, and demonstrate prompt responses to issues. Essentially, I believe that this disposition will play a significant role in my teaching assessment because through it, my ability to handle assigned duties and organize my resources before classes are evaluated.
Students conduct themselves in line with established plans, and therefore being organized and responsible is a vital attribute. According to Fonseca-Chacana, an organized student-teacher collaboration through participatory methods has proved effective in enhancing students’ cognitive growth and emotional health (270). Responding promptly to student needs eventually motivates them to create stronger connections with their teacher, which will enable them to understand more of what is taught. I will also be required to prepare and organize my lesson plans and practical sessions early to ensure that no activities are missed. Therefore, this disposition will be the most important determiner of a teacher’s readiness and suitability to teach a wide range of student groups.
Developing Positive Relationships with Students, Staff, Families, Administration, and Other Schools Personnel
A school comprises individuals from different social settings, having different needs and capabilities. For this reason, teachers are supposed to connect with students, colleagues, school administration, non-teaching staff, and families (Warren 170). School is a community in which healthy relationships should be established for optimum results. Warren links positive relationships at school to culturally responsive outcomes (172). This disposition will assess my ability to unite different social units for improved learning outcomes and develop solutions to school cultural problems. The panelists mentioned that a teacher is supposed to understand that students’ cultural sensitivity can be influenced by the style of teaching (Teacher Education Career Panel). In essence, this disposition will be important in my professional practice because it assesses my capacity to contribute to inclusivity and mutual understanding in a community comprised of different cultural perspectives.
Accepting Feedback and Making Necessary Changes
Since teaching presents numerous opportunities for career growth and knowledge advancement, it is crucial for teachers to be open to learning. The teacher education career panel emphasized the need for positive feedback in the learning process. The panelists argued that teachers who are unwilling to change could not grow (Teacher Education Career Panel). Having an open mind would help me accommodate new ideas and identify errors and gaps in my knowledge. Fonseca-Chacana confirms that teaching is a noble duty in which performance needs to be improved daily (275). This disposition will be important in evaluating my ability to adjust to changes in the teaching profession. Working in diverse settings and promoting equality requires that a teacher be willing to change their teaching strategies to meet individual students’ needs (Kerr and Andreotti 656). As technology and global education policies change, the need to respond positively to changes will become increasingly important, implying that accepting feedback is a preliminary for career growth.
“Teacher Education Career Panel” 2021. Web.
Fonseca-Chacana, Jannett. “Making Teacher Dispositions Explicit: A Participatory Approach.” Teaching and Teacher Education, vol. 77, 2019, pp. 266-276.
Kerr, Jeannie, and Vanessa Andreotti. “Crossing Borders in Initial Teacher Education: Mapping Dispositions to Diversity and Inequity.” Race Ethnicity and Education, vol. 22, no. 5, 2017, pp. 647-665.
Warren, Chezare A. “Empathy, Teacher Dispositions, and Preparation for Culturally Responsive Pedagogy.” Journal of Teacher Education, vol. 69, no. 2, 2017, pp. 169-183.