During my education in Sebring, I had amazing teachers. I guess it was because it was a small town, but I felt like all of my teachers cared. I never heard of or knew of a teacher not caring until I grew up and began raising my child here in Jacksonville. I know that that is not the "norm", but it does happen. The two teachers that truly stand out to me as the teachers that made the most impact on me are my First Grade teacher, Mrs. Utley and my High School History and Government Teacher, Mr. Cloud.
Mrs. Utley was everything a First Grade teacher should be in a six-year-old's eyes. She was beautiful, sweet, patient and never raised her voice. She never let us count on our fingers. She taught us how to count in our head and to this day I still do not use my fingers to count. I learned how to be a good reader in her class. Most of all, she was an example of how to treat others.
Mr. Cloud was amazing! He was the teacher that acted like he didn't care what the School Board told him. He was going to teach what he wanted to teach. Really, he taught the curriculum, but in a different way than how the School Board wanted. We were allowed to have discussions in the class...to a point. He made us feel like he was a free spirit that had a bald head and was a staunch Second Amendment supporter. Looking back, I can see that he did have perimeters. He would let us discuss a topic, but not let us get off of the topic. He didn't let us talk out of turn and we all respected him too much to be late to his class. He was the teacher that you could always get excused from class for something for cheerleading; and our cheer coach knew it. He was still an excellent teacher and made me love History and Government. He made it interesting.
How as a teacher do I combine these two teaching styles to form my own? Both of these teaching styles would be considered congruent in my opinion. I believe that I would start by looking at my personal values.
I believe that I would base my teaching style on what our text book refers to as "CARE" (Machado & Meyer-Botnarescue, 2011). CARE stands for congruence, acceptance, empathy and reliability. This aligns with my values which is congruence, so I would begin with accepting the children that have been placed in my classroom no matter what their home life situation is or what their ability level is. I have been through a lot of situations during my lifetime and have been through a lot of situations with my friends and their children. I think this is where being my age is a benefit. This would help me to have empathy with my students. I need reliability as much as the children do! We can all benefit from that attribute.
Putting the examples of teachers that I had growing up and the information that I have been able to gain during my studies has made me develop a since of wanting to have a calm and nurturing environment in my classroom. I want to have an environment that students can't wait to get to each day. An environment where they feel loved, safe and can explore. I want them to be eager to learn and for that to happen, I believe that they need to feel comfortable. I hope that I can model all of the values that I listed above in my teaching.
Machado, J. M., & Meyer-Botnarescue, H. (2011). Student Teaching: Early Childhood Practicum Guide. Wadsworth Cengage Learning.