I believe in a structured and nurturing environment for my classroom. I follow the adage, “there is a time and place for everything,” and in my classroom, there will be a time to learn and a time to play. If I set the boundaries in my classroom early on, with reasonable expectations for the abilities and behavior of the children in my class, then the children will behave properly and be ready for learning. I feel that children will gain confidence in themselves for having adequately learned a skill set, and feel like they have accomplished something for themselves. With these skills, my students can immerse themselves into hands-on activities and learning centers to further their knowledge. With boundaries in place, the children will know how to behave during classroom activities so that we do not waste our valuable and fun learning moments.
In addition to a structured environment, children also need a caring environment in which they feel safe to make mistakes and to learn. Though I believe that the classroom is a serious place for learning, there are also many opportunities for play and for silliness. I want my students to feel comfortable in the classroom, and to know that I am always approachable. Bringing in songs and costumes and participating in activities with my students will allow them to see that I not only care about their learning, but I also care about enjoying time with them.
My assumptions about young people are that their peers and the media pull them in many directions. When I look around, I see so many advertisements, TV shows, shopping stores, and people trying to get the attention of our children. They flash pretty pictures and sound off hip music to draw our children in, and convince them that they need to be cool by either buying something or having something in their possession. The young people today also seem to be more mature than in the past, but this maturity also brings about much confusion and anxiety. Young people are looking for a safe haven and refuge from the many mixed messages that are being sent to them. For many young people, their home environments are unstable, which leads to more confusion.
Schools and classrooms should be a sanctuary for students that will fill the voids left by difficult personal and family situations or simply “growing pains.” The students are also seeking validation from their peers and from people whom they respect. Our students desire to be cared for, and it is up to me to provide a classroom that welcomes my students. To have such a positive learning environment, students need more than just a “dominator-type” teacher. They should not feel fearful to come to class or to participate in discussions. Students must feel that they are a part of the classroom and their own learning, so that they will want to learn and work hard.
I also have observed that many young people view learning as another outlet of entertainment. They want...