This short essay, together with dive group of pictures, is going to demonstrate how teachers and learners perceive the process of learning and teaching.
The Ugly Duckling: Teachers See Learning
Teachers view learning as a transforming process--students transform from the ugly ducklings to the elegant swans. In this long journey, students need to endure intense training, whose learning is always accompanied with emotions like fear, doubts, and anxiety. Students fear to make mistakes, self-doubt their competency, and are often anxious about their performance. Teachers know that these are inevitable negativities in learning, and thus they will need to create a safe classroom for students to get up from their fell. “If you get tangled up, you need to tango on.” This famous quote from the movie Scent of a Woman (1992) precisely describe the transforming process.
Also, teachers know that they are never sage on the stage; they are simply guide on the side. Just as the picture shows, the ballet is performed without a teacher, the learning ultimately needs to be achieved by the students themselves. Therefore, teachers will intentionally shape the students to be self-directed learners. In the safe classroom, teachers allow students to make mistakes, set up reasonably high expectations for students to grow, and push students out of their comfort zone so that they learn from wobbling to swimming. Eventually, teachers can walk away from students, leaving them to perform on a grand stage named life.
Silver Lining: Teachers See Teaching
This picture captures the moment when a teacher is handling difficult classroom behaviors and controlling caprice emotions. A classroom climate changes like unpredictable winter temperature in College Station, Texas--a teacher cannot precisely forecast the situation in class. There will be students who keep private conversations, who challenge the teacher’s authority, who make argument into personal attack, and who infect the classroom with negative emotions as flu. As a novice teacher myself, these incidents are obviously absent from the teaching plan, since I would attempt to prepare an ideal class with highly motivated students. Whenever an unpleasant incident breaks out, I would wish to be Zeus, to be the God who can easily wipe out the anger and fear and tune the class to LA springtime. Certainly, I can’t be the divine, yet I can be the diva who controls the classroom weather with highly flexible teaching skills. For example, I can ask students who keep private conversation to share their opinions. If they were discussing relevant questions, I could address their concerns with my expertise. If the content remains personal, such intervene could redirect students to re-focus on class. Teaching is a process that requires a teacher to continuously accumulate various teaching methods, so that the teacher can skillfully approach the student with a silver lining behind the clouds.
Power Dialogue: Students See Teaching