My perception of education is that it must enrich the lives of students, regardless of their background, challenges, or learning abilities. It can arouse a lifetime commitment to the pursuit of knowledge, it can provide gratification at simply having knowledge about the world, and it can establish the groundwork individuals need in order to pursue a successful career, for the profession of teaching is what makes all other professions possible. I believe that teaching should be a partnership, a partnership between the teacher or instructor and the parent(s) and/or guardian(s).
In order to maximize the learning experience, each of these groups of people must play an integral role in ensuring that the learning experience is not only challenging, but also positive, impactful, and rewarding for all students. Teachers carry the biggest burden of responsibility for they are the primary educator directly involved with the student. They not only must be a positive and supportive role model but they also must ensure that the needs of the individual are met and not get lost in meeting the needs of the group as a whole.
In other words, because people learn differently it should not be assumed that one single way of teaching is sufficient for all students. A teacher must be able to employ a variety of teaching techniques and methods in order to maximize the learning experience. This also includes meeting the needs of students who are learning at a different pace. Teachers also have a responsibility in making the classroom a safe and comfortable learning environment for their students.
Because a child’s home life may be less than perfect, they should ever have to worry about entering a school where they do not feel comfortable in positively expressing themselves nor should they have to fear bullying from other classmates. A child who is not distracted by these worries is a child who is more focused on learning. In addition to exposure to a variety of teaching methods and a safe learning environment, every student has the right to be taught by a highly qualified educator. No student deserves to be taught be a teacher who is unqualified, unskilled, and who does not put the learning needs of the student first.
Just as students are tested and graded on their performance, I believe that every educator should be evaluated for their abilities in imparting knowledge to their students. If there are expectations that we have of our students, then shouldn’t we also have expectations of the people who are teaching them? It is not fair to leave the burden of responsibility for teaching solely on the shoulders of the professional educator. The role of the parent(s) and/or guardian(s), although secondary, is just as vital to the success of the student.
While the bulk of knowledge is imparted in the classroom, there is still a great deal of learning that can take place even after the end of the school day. Parents can take an active role in their child’s learning by asking them what they learned today, taking the time to help with homework, visiting with their teacher on a regular basis, and by showing an honest interest in wanting to see the child succeed. The teacher taking the time to send progress reports to parents so that they can be made aware as early as possible of any difficulties should accompany this.
In conclusion, imparting knowledge to students should be a team effort between the teacher and parent(s) and/or guardian(s). While education offers a way of understanding oneself, it is up to us to help guide the student in the right direction thus, setting the stage for them to lead a fulfilling and rewarding life. In closing, I’m reminded of something that Rev. Dr. Martin L. King Jr. said in a 1948 speech at Morehouse College in which he said, “Education must enable a man to become more efficient, to achieve with increasing facility the legitimate goals of his life. ” In deed, Dr. King…in deed.