10 February 2015
Reflection on the Inexperienced Teacher
I am the resident fly on the wall in Mrs. Rice’s fourth grade classroom. Haven’t been formally introduced, I’m just “that girl” that sits at the teacher’s desk and grades a week’s worth of assignments. Today, I had the privilege of grading assignments in the same room as the weekly teacher meeting. I was quite surprised that I wasn’t hearing inside teaching tactics, but rather, saw, heard, and felt the overwhelming uncertainty of how and what to teach. Three out of the four teachers confessed that they, “just don’t know” what they are doing. The youngest of the teachers expressed her discomfort with the varying the styles of teaching, preferring to stick to a prescribed way of conducting the class and presenting assignments instead of varying up the styles of execution.
While the lack of organization and direction concerned me, I sympathized with whom I assume was the newest teacher present. Teaching would be a lot easier if the methods in which one uses to teach remain constant. However, how many of us have been stuck in a lecture with one of the older teachers who refuses to bring technology into their classroom? Learning isn’t constant. It ebbs and flows on maturations, experiences, and ultimately the teacher herself.
The same holds true for Eustace in The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, by C.S. Lewis, who in the beginning of the novel is rooted firmly in his regimented beliefs. He fails to notice the true nature of his situation, harping on trivial aspects of his journey, like the Dawn Treader having “no proper salon, no radio, no bathrooms” (30) instead of the incredible courage and interesting culture of Caspian and the crew. Eustace only becomes aware of his blindness when Aslan forcefully, “peel[s] the beastly stuff off” (116). Becoming aware one’s ignorance is a painful experience and the more one is convinced that his method of reasoning and think is the most correct, the more brutal the blow of realization is.
As I’m sure the concerned teacher will find out in the future, teaching children at that young age can not be so cookie-cutter. Her students need to be exposed to the styles of teaching, or else they will become like Eustace, who has a narrow view on life in general. Lesson plans need to have the room for the students to intermix and exchange their ideas from the earliest of ages. Just as Aslan had to assist Eustace in the shedding process of his hideous scales, the teacher has a responsibility to uncloak her student’s perceptions and strip them down to their core self in which their eyes are open and their minds are exposed and open to the many facets of not only academia, but society as well.