Fostering and modeling the idea of acceptance is the most important aspect of any classroom. Promoting acceptance in classrooms really shows children the best ways to approach situations for the best outcomes. Further, acceptance aids in the free-spirit students need to feel in classrooms so educators can fully reach every student in them. To communicate acceptance into my classroom, I plan to focus on rules, procedures and sense of community. To foster these ideas, I plan to begin each day on the same type of note, possibly meeting in a circle in a designated area, at the beginning of each day. This strategy would give my students open interaction with me as well as peers and may help the class get to know each member more personally. I would also engage in one-on-one interaction with students through personal journals or weekly meetings. The idea for this strategy is to relate to and encourage students rather than correct them. Lastly, rules would be explicitly placed for when students experience “off days” and need reminders. Following those rules consistently would set the beginning tone for classroom rules and establish the overall feeling of the area. To me, exposing students to a consistent, warm and dependable classroom will enable them to be their true selves and reach their full potentials.
Classroom arrangement is another important factor in creating engaging classrooms. Classroom arrangement is important because it can affect any student’s academic as well as social life. Academically, classroom arrangement can benefit students by providing reminders of information which would be referenced frequently. With posters, teachers can enhance the color and personality of the room as well as provide reminders for key class terms. Additionally, placement of desks and seating arrangements can play into this. The main idea of seating arrangements is to keep students away from things which may distract them, such as friends or family members, but keep them in areas where they can still socialize. In my classroom I plan to incorporate open seating, so I can navigate around the room. I also plan to have groups at each table together rather than individual desks so students can develop socially AND academically.
Planning ahead for each school year is extremely beneficial to teachers and students. From decorating a classroom to creating updated lesson plans to researching new students' past academic records, teachers can enhance what their students take away from each school day. Implementing lessons which push students' academic progress as well as providing for all students is equally important. For many students, the tone of the school year is set on the very first day they meet their teacher, even within the first 5 minutes of meeting. While it is important for teachers to do their best to satisfy each student, it is also important to recognize that people make mistakes. For teachers who experience difficulty with this, or get off to a bad start, there are some ways to mend mistakes. One strategy is to take with colleagues to brainstorm ideas about problem students, to avoid misconceptions and assumptions which may be false. Another is to take part in one-on-one interactions with every student, to "clear the air" or clarify the meaning of words previously used. Lastly, teachers off to a bad start can spend quality time with students outside of the school. This strategy can help positive feelings come out and a sense of self-worth can be established with the student and teacher. Not only does this strategy help students become more aware, but it also helps them relate to their teacher more.
In the end I believe educators need to have faith in human beings and an indefinite capacity to love. They need to realize that learning is not a business, it is personal. They need to actively battle narrow-mindedness by instilling acceptance of others who may be considered different from their students. They need to challenge the thought of what is considered typical so that students may begin to understand their biases as well as the biases inherent in today's society. Over time, these ideas can change the world and make it more balanced. This is why my future classroom will be an all inclusive, accepting and comfortable place to learn for all people. This philosophy is what inspires me to want to teach!
"HUMAN BEINGS SEEM TO HAVE A FUNDAMENTAL NEED TO FEEL SOCIALLY CONNECTED WITH OTHERS...IVE NEVER MET A CHILD OR ADOLESCENT WHO, DEEP DOWN, DIDN'T WANT POSITIVE, PRODUCTIVE RELATIONSHIPS WITH SCHOOL FACULTY MEMBERS." -Jeanne Ellis Ormrod