Teachers play vital roles in the lives of the students in their classrooms. Teachers are best known for the role of educating the students that are placed in their care. Beyond that, teachers serve many other roles in the classroom. Teachers set the tone of their classrooms, build a warm environment, mentor and nurture students, become role models, and listen and look for signs of trouble.
The most common role a teacher plays in the classroom is to teach knowledge to children. Teachers are given a curriculum they must follow that meets state guidelines. This curriculum is followed by the teacher so that throughout the year, all pertinent knowledge is dispensed to the students. Teachers teach in many ways including lectures, small group activities and hands-on learning activities.
Creating Classroom Environment
Teachers also play an important role in the classroom when it comes to the environment. Students often mimic a teacher’s actions. If the teacher prepares a warm, happy environment, students are more likely to be happy. An environment set by the teacher can be either positive or negative. If students sense the teacher is angry, students may react negatively to that and therefore learning can be impaired. Teachers are responsible for the social behavior in their classrooms. This behavior is primarily a reflection of the teacher’s actions and the environment she sets.
Teachers typically do not think of themselves as role models, however, inadvertently they are. Students spend a great deal of time with their teacher and therefore, the teacher becomes a role model to them. This can be a positive or negative effect depending on the teacher. Teachers are there not only to teach the children, but also to love and care for them. Teachers are typically highly respected by people in the community and therefore become a role model to students and parents.
Mentoring is a natural role taken on by teachers, whether it is intentional or not. This again can have positive or negative effects on children. Mentoring is a way a teacher encourages students to strive to be the best they can. This also includes encouraging students to enjoy learning. Part of mentoring consists of listening to students. By taking time to listen to what students say, teachers impart to students a sense of ownership in the classroom. This helps build their confidence and helps them want to be successful.
Signs of Trouble
Another role played by teachers is a protector role. Teachers are taught to look for signs of trouble in the students. When students’ behaviors change or physical signs of abuse are noticed, teachers are required to look into the problem. Teachers must follow faculty procedures when it comes to following up on all signs of trouble.
A role model is a person who inspires and encourages us to strive for greatness, live to our fullest potential and see the best in ourselves. A role model is someone we admire and someone we aspire to be like. We learn through them, through their commitment to excellence and through their ability to make us realize our own personal growth. We look to them for advice and guidance.
A role model can be anybody: a parent, a sibling, a friend but some of our most influential and life-changing role models are teachers.
My Teacher, My Hero
When you think of the type of teacher you'd like to be, who comes to mind? The math teacher that helped you conquer fractions? The English teacher who wrote great comments on your stories? The teacher that helped you discover a new sport, hobby, talent--or maybe even nudged you down your current career path?
Those are the teachers we're celebrating through our YouTube channel, My Teacher, My Hero. Together, we're paying homage to the teachers that have played such an integral part in shaping our lives, and to their importance in shaping the next generation of educators.
“When the student is ready, the teacher appears.” — Marlene Canter, My Teacher My Hero
Teachers follow students through each pivotal stage of development. At six to eight hours a day, five days a week, you as a teacher are poised to become one of the most influential people in your students’ life. After their parents, children will first learn from you, their elementary school teacher. Then, as a middle school teacher, you will guide students through yet another important transition: adolescence. As children become young adults, learning throughout middle school and into high school, you will answer their questions, listen to their problems and teach them about this new phase of their lives. You not only watch your students grow you help them grow.
“We think of teacher-heroes that taught us the academics but we don’t often think of those teachers that taught us life’s lessons.” — Maria Wale, My Teacher My Hero
Much of what students learn from their greatest teachers is not detailed on a syllabus. Teachers who help us grow as people are responsible for imparting some of life’s most important lessons. During their initial school years, students encounter, perhaps for the first time, other children of the same age and begin to form some of their first friendships. As a teacher, you will show your students how to become independent and form their own relationships, you will carefully guide them and intervene when necessary. School is as much a place of social learning as academic learning, and this is true, not only in our early years of education, but all the way through college. Though a teacher’s influence on the social sphere of school lessens as students mature, those early lessons still have an effect on how they will interact with others in the future.
Teachers are founts of experience. They have already been where their students are going, undergone what they will go through and are in a position to pass along lessons, not only regarding subject matter, but lessons on life.
Meet Great Teachers
Teach.com has been speaking with award-winning teachers from across the country to hear their stories and, hopefully, find out a bit about what it is exactly that makes them great. If you are currently a teacher or thinking about becoming a teacher, take a look at some of the Teacher Profiles below to learn a bit more about what can make a teacher great.
Here's how: Take a video of yourself discussing your favorite teacher. You can use the below prompts to get your wheels turning.
1. Choose an example of how your teacher changed your way of thinking or acting.
Did your teacher encourage you to take risks? To overcome self-defeating thoughts or behavior? Did he or she help you speak up more in class, or have more patience with solving problems?
2. Tell us how these changes have influenced your life's direction.
Did they help you uncover a unique talent, or steer you away from a dangerous life path? How did this change your eventual direction in life?
3. Share an interesting story.
Sometimes actions speak louder than words. And your story doesn't have to be serious! A teacher's impact often shines through the most.
And of course, remember to say thank you! Click to watch the rest of the My Teacher, My Hero series on YouTube