Students are scattered across the classroom in small collaborative teams, each working on a different task – some are communicating their ideas and building upon those of their peers, while others are generating new solutions and collecting data. All are at self-paced stages in their project. A teacher kneels beside one group that seems to have come to a standstill and inquires, “What do you hope to do? What are some other ways you can reach your goal?” This is a familiar scene in my classroom as we tackle our new unit of inquiry about animals.
I believe a classroom is a living, breathing organism – a cacophony of marked fails and successes, challenges and tenacity. Students come to you with experiences and past knowledge that you identify and build upon. Most do not come to you with a pallet of skills mastered; they are looking for your guidance. A great educator can look at each individual and understand what drives him, tap into the potential he possesses, and use this to move him forward.
There are many factors that constitute a child’s success in the classroom. I place an importance on creating a safe environment for learning through establishing strong relationships built on trust. Before students even set foot in the classroom, I organize team building exercises to help construct autonomy in our daily class structure. I take inventories of student interests and host small get-togethers with families. In addition, I embed character development and life skills into my lessons, and because of this, my classroom is alive with risk-takers and team players that see themselves as family.
Assessment is another important aspect of my teaching because the data I gather not only informs my instruction but also empowers students to monitor their own learning. In my classroom, one way I empower students is through maintaining a portfolio of student work. We graph our weekly fluency scores, evaluate our reading level, and identify skills that as individuals we need to develop more. Through his, I have seen a dramatic improvement in student accountability since the beginning of the school year.
I also feel that the walls of the classroom do not define a child’s education; it is built on a complex system of relationships. I work diligently to integrate community leaders and resources to create meaningful activities; I also keep parents informed regularly. I send daily messages home through social media tools, provide parents with our weekly learning goals in our Friday newsletters, and write positive notes to celebrate their child’s learning growth.
I am always eager to further my own education and experiences so that I can better meet the needs of my students. I independently seek our professional development. I am certified to run a special education program, act as a school reading specialist, as well as teach and implement school-wide the IB Primary Years Program. On any given day, you can walk into my classroom and observe how I uniquely differentiate, plan and assess through the ongoing learning I have acquired. My USA, UK, Canada and IB licensure are a testament to my commitment to stay internationally-minded.
Most importantly, I want my students to love learning just as much as I do. I am a passionate and experienced international educator who hopes for a better tomorrow.
Last updated April 2016
Copyright © Megan Banerjee. All rights reserved.